Explore the Galleries

Explore the movement that changed the nation. Discover stories of Mississippians like Medgar Evers, Fannie Lou Hamer, and Vernon Dahmer, as well as those who traveled many miles to stand beside them, come what may, in the name of equal rights for all.

Explore the Galleries at the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum

Points of Light

The Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi is full of ordinary men and women who refused to sit silently while their brothers and sisters were denied their basic freedoms. A number of these heroes are featured throughout the museum as Points of Light, shining exemplars of dignity, strength, and perseverance in the face of oppression.

Dr. Aaron Shirley

Dr. Aaron Shirley

Growing up, Aaron Shirley recalled Mississippi’s African Americans having limited access to adequate hospitals and healthcare. After graduating from Meharry Medical College, Shirley returned home to accept a position as a resident of the University of Mississippi Medical Center—becoming the first African American to hold the position at the facility. Throughout his tenure, Shirley worked tirelessly as both a physician and civil rights activist to help improve healthcare for African Americans in the state. He cofounded the Jackson-Hinds Comprehensive Healthcare Center in 1970 and created a partnership with Jackson State University, Tougaloo College, and the University of Mississippi Medical Center to form the Jackson Medical Mall in the late 1990s.

Coach Babe McCarthy

Game of Change

In 1963, Mississippi State University defied segregationists by playing Loyola in the NCAA basketball tournament. Coach Babe McCarthy’s Bulldogs qualified by winning their fourth SEC title. In previous years—1959, 1961, and 1962—they had not competed because the tournament included integrated teams. MSU president Dean W. Calvard supported the team. MSU students burned an effigy of Governor Ross Barnett for his opposition. State Senator Billy Mitts got a court injunction to keep them from playing, but the team left the state for the tournament before it could be served. The state Supreme Court later threw out the injunction.

Explore Mississippi

Many of the homes, colleges, and historic sites discussed in this gallery still exist today. Journey beyond the museum walls and explore the places where history happened.

Natchez Museum of African-American History and Culture

Natchez Museum of African-American History and CultureArtwork, literature, and artifacts relating to the lives of African Americans in Natchez

301 Main Street
Natchez, Mississippi

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Jacqueline House African American Museum

Celebrates the rich legacy of African Americans in Warren County, Mississippi

1325 Main Street
Vicksburg, Mississipp 

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