National Park Service Wants Input on Civil Rights Sites To S

National Park Service Wants Input on Civil Rights Sites To Study
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National Park Study Team at Miss. 2 Museums
Desare Frazier

National Park Service Officials are hosting forums across Mississippi to hear what state Civil Rights sites people would like designated as parks. As MPB's Desare Frazier reports, not everyone supports the sites selected.

National Park Service officials came with a list of five sites to study. Among them are the home of Voting Rights Activist Medgar Evers; the former office of Dr. Gilbert Mason, who led wade-ins to integrate Biloxi beaches and the Bryant Store in Money. That's where 14-year old Emmett Till was accused of flirting with a white woman. He was later murdered. Priscilla Sterling, a Till relative, doesn't want the store considered.

"It's like empowering white supremacy. That's what it seems to me. Why would I want to empower people such as them. I don't want them to be remembered or even though about," said Sterling.

Ben West with the park service wouldn't comment on Sterling's opinion, but had this to say.

"The purpose of the study is to understand that's part of the Emmett Till story and appropriately tell the breathe of what happened in1955 and the Bryant store is clearly part of that story," said West.

West also wants to expand their site list, which will take two years to study. The criteria includes places of national significance that aren't adequately represented in the national park system. Lolly Rash with the Mississippi Heritage Trust wants Mound Bayou included. The successful community was founded by freed black slaves in 1887.

"There's the Isaiah T. Montgomery House, the Taborian Hospital, the administration building of the Knights and Daughters of Tabors. This is a place that has a very positive story to tell," said Rash.

West says they're interested in sites from the Reconstruction Era, through Jim Crow, up to the Civil Rights years. They held meetings in the Delta Monday. Today they'll be in Philadelphia and in Biloxi on Thursday. People can share their comments on the National Park Service website until June 1st. National Park Service Comments: