Visit various sites within downtown Jackson.
On May 28, 1963, Tougaloo College students Pearlena Lewis, Anne Moody, Joan Trumpauer, and Memphis Norman, along with their sociology professor, John Salter, sat at the whites-only lunch counter to challenge segregation. For three hours, the group endured insults and attacks by an increasingly violent white mob. Memphis Norman was physically thrown from his seat and kicked in the head as he lay on the floor. The rest of the white mob slapped the protesters, hit them with items from the lunch counter, and even burned cigarettes on their skin. Others dumped drinks on the protesters or laughed as others covered them in sugar, mustard, and ketchup. Jackson Daily News photographer Fred Blackwell took the now iconic photo of the sit-in that depicted the anger of the white mob.
Built in 1839, the Greek Style home is "the second oldest continuously occupied governor’s residence in the United States." It was designed by William Nichols of Bath and is considered one the best examples of period architecture. The first Mississippi governor to live in the mansion was Tilghman M. Tucker, who moved in with his family after his inauguration in 1842. The home experienced some deterioration over the years, but in the early 1970s, "Governor Waller and the First Lady initiated a three-year project that restored the Mansion to the historical period of its construction and guaranteed its continued use for many years to come." Today, the public can tour the mansion which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is also a National Historic Landmark as well as a Mississippi Historic Landmark.
Originally constructed in 1847, Jackson City Hall is one of the only remaining Greek Revival-style antebellum government buildings in Jackson. The building has also been used as the local Masonic Hall and served as a Civil War hospital. City Hall was one of the only buildings left standing in Jackson after the Civil War. The building was added to the National Historic Register in 1969. More recently, the City Hall grounds have been subject to controversy, as the statue of Andrew Jackson has sparked debate. In July 2020, the city council voted to relocate the Andrew Jackson statue, though plans remain indefinite.
Located within the Mississippi Arts Center complex, the International Museum of Muslim Cultures offers exhibits and programs related to the history of Islam and Islamic nations. The museum also offers programs and exhibits related to the contributions and experiences of Islamic Americans--especially those in Mississippi and the South. The museum was established in 2001 and was the first of its kind in the United States.
The Mississippi Museum of Art dates back to 1911 and is the largest museum in the state. Its permanent exhibit, "The Mississippi Story," includes a comprehensive selection of art by Mississippians, including late-nineteenth century painter G. Ruger Donoho, photographer and writer Eudora Welty, and outsider artists Theora Hamblett, Elizabeth Wright Mohammed and Sultan Rogers. The Museum also collects contemporary works by Mississippi natives such as William Dunlap, Sam Gilliam, Birney Imes, Valerie Jaudon, Gwendolyn A. Magee, Ken Marlow, Ed McGowin and Tom Rankin. The Museum fulfills its mission to collect and exhibit art related to Mississippi's artistic heritage with important collections of works by natives Walter Anderson, Caroline Compton, Marie Hull, Mary Katherine Loyacano McCravey, George Ohr, Edgar Parker, and more than 280 works by William Hollingsworth. Among the significant visiting artists included are John James Audubon, Alfred Eisenstadt, and Lewis Hine. The quilting traditions of Claiborne and Jefferson Counties in Mississippi are represented in a collection of 77 quilts, including examples by National Heritage Award recipient Hystercine Rankin.
This former Greyhound Bus Station was the site of an important event during the Civil Rights era. On May 24, 1961, a group of 27 Freedom Riders (both white and Black students) arrived at the station and were immediately arrested and charged with trespassing into the whites-only room. The incident attracted national attention and encouraged others to go on Freedom Rides throughout the South. The interior of the station has been beautifully renovated to appear as it might have during WWII. There is a mural that appears to have changed the word "Colored" with baggage, apparently seeking to distance the station from that day. Beyond a historic marker outside the building, there is little inside the restored station (which now serves as the office of an architectural firm) to remind visitors of the 1961 Freedom Rides that made this bus station famous. That history appears below through images and links to articles, books, and videos.
The Old Mississippi State Capitol, also known as Old Capitol Museum or Old State Capitol, is presently operated as a museum by the state of Mississippi. The building dates from 1837, and was the Mississippi statehouse until 1903. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1990. The Old Capitol was the site of some of the state’s most significant legislative actions, such as the passage of the 1839 Married Women’s Property Act, Mississippi’s secession from the Union in 1861, and the crafting of the 1868 and 1890 state constitutions.
Built in 1983, the Charlotte Capers Archives and History Building is home to the Historic Preservation Division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH). The division dates back to its foundation in 1902 and is responsible for working with individuals and local governments to preserve historically significant sites. The division provides tax incentives and grants to facilitate these projects and employs archaeologists and architectural historians who work in the building and throughout the state. The division's work involves managing the state and national landmark programs. The division also works to create state historical markers.
The very first sit-in demonstration in the state of Mississippi took place at the Jackson Municipal Public Library on March 27th, 1961. At the time, this large central library served only white patrons. The arrest and subsequent trial of the nine college students involved (dubbed the Tougaloo Nine), as well as the violent police response, received press coverage on both local and national levels. This first sit-in demonstration started a wave of protests across the state, including the well-known Woolworth's sit-in. It also led to a class action lawsuit, brought by the NAACP, that effectively forced the desegregation of the Jackson-Hinds county public library system, and library systems throughout the state.
Founded in 1902, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History (MDAH) is the state's official organization to collect, preserve and provide access to archival material related to Missouri history. Its headquarters is located in this building, the William F. Winters Archives and History Building, which is located next to the Museum of Mississippi History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum, both of which the MDAH administers. The MDAH is also responsible for managing other museums historic sites in the state, overseeing programs for historic preservation, government records management, and publications.
This structure is the official capitol building for the state of Mississippi. While this is the current capitol, one other capitol building still stands, commonly referred to as “the Old Capitol,” and it has turned into a museum that explores the history of the site. The new building was approved for construction in 1900, and construction cost one million dollars. The architecture of the building was designed with many smaller details meant to portray the history of the state, including the good and bad. For example, there is a large, gilded eagle that faces south on top of the capitol, which pays heed to Mississippi's past as a Confederate state.
Located next to each other and sharing the same entrance, the Museum of Mississippi History (MMH) & Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (MCRM) opened in December 2017. Both are a part of the museum division of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, which is a state-run agency founded in 1902. It is located next to the museums in the William F. Winters Archives and History Building.
The Alamo Theatre is one of the premiere sites on the Mississippi Blues Trail. The theater opened in 1942 and showed popular westerns and African-American films. The facility also served as a performing arts theater featuring Black Vaudeville acts, stage bands, and performing artists such as B.B King, Nat King Cole and other top African-American performers. The theater is located in the historic Farish Street District and was recently listed on the National Historic Register. The Farish District was the Mecca of a thriving Black professional and trade community prior to its closure in 1960. The theater remained shuttered until 1992 when a community restoration effort began to revive the neighborhood.
Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center is housed in the former Smith Robertson School, the first public school built for African Americans in Jackson. The original school opened in 1894 but a fire destroyed that building in 1909. The current building was completed in 1929 and served the African American community until 1971. One of the most notable graduates of Smith Robertson School is internationally known novelist and 1925 graduate Richard Nathaniel Wright. Though he spent only a few years of his life in Mississippi, those years would play a key role in his two most important works: Native Son, a novel, and his autobiography, Black Boy. The Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center is dedicated to increasing public understanding and awareness of the historical experience and cultural expressions of people of African descent. Artifacts highlight the contributions of Black Mississippians through struggle and achievement, as seen in exhibits such as From Slavery to America, 1670-1864 and in the Hall of Fame, which includes personalities from the state who are pioneers in their respective positions.
Originally opened in 1909 as George Street Grocery, the building now known as the Ole Tavern on George Street was added to the National Register of Historic places in 2010. The building is significant for both its history as a neighborhood marketplace and for its relation to American short story author Eudora Alice Welty, who based her autobiographical essay "The Corner Store" on George Street Grocery.