SuperTalk Mississippi

Governor supports National Park status for Civil Rights sites

Governor Phil Bryant. Photo courtesy of Telesouth Communications Inc.

According to a post on his Facebook page, Governor Phil Bryant has pledged his support for several Mississippi sites to receive “National Park status” for their historical relevance to the Civil Rights Movement.

A list of the sites was posted to the National Park Service’s website and can be seen below:

• The home in Jackson where civil rights activist Medgar Evers resided with his wife and was killed in 1963.
• Sites in the Mississippi Delta related to the lynching of 14-year-old Emmett Till on August 28, 1955, including Bryant’s store and Tallahatchie County Courthouse.
• The Old Neshoba County jail in Philadelphia, Miss., where civil rights workers James Chaney, Andrew Goodman, and Michael Schwerner were held for a speeding violation prior to being released and murdered by a mob for registering black voters in 1964. The Reverends Martin Luther King Jr. and Ralph David Abernathy Sr. included the jail in a heralded voter registration march two years later.
• The Biloxi office of Dr. Gilbert Mason Sr. who was a principal organizer of “wade-ins” beginning in 1959 to desegregate Biloxi’s public beaches. He also helped organize voter registration drives and led other civil rights initiatives for 33 years.

In a letter that was sent to Secretary of the Interior Ryan Zinke, Governor Bryant reflected on the importance of each site and how preserving them will aid the next generation of Mississippians.

“Each of these sites has a story that deserves to be told,” he said. “I am convinced conferring National Park Status on them will ensure current and future generations fully understand the sacrifice so many people made in the name of freedom and equality.”

The Governor’s support comes as part of a special resource study of Mississippi’s nationally significant civil rights sites, which is being conducted by the NPS.

“The purpose of this special resource study is to gather information about the sites through historical research and public input and evaluate the sites’ potential for inclusion into the NPS system. The findings – which are reported to Congress through the U.S. Secretary of the Interior – will center on the sites’ national significance, suitability, feasibility and need for direct NPS management. Special resource studies can take place over a two-year period, depending on the findings,” the NPS’ website reads.

Meetings will be held across Mississippi throughout the week for members of the public to voice their opinions on the study. Locations of the meetings can be seen by clicking here – Meeting locations.

Those wanting to participate can also leave comments online by clicking here – Comments.

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