JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - This is a news release from Visit Mississippi
Visit Mississippi will unveil the latest marker on the Mississippi Freedom Trail at 10 a.m. on July 29, 2015. Placed on the north side of the State Capitol building, the "Capitol Rally" marker commemorates the "March Against Fear" which began in Memphis and ended at the Mississippi State Capitol in 1966, and is estimated to be the largest civil rights demonstration in Mississippi's history.
The Mississippi Freedom Trail is a of markers commemorating people, places and events of the Civil Rights movement, with more than sixteen markers across the state.
"The Mississippi Freedom Trail is an important asset in helping us tell Mississippi's whole story," said Malcolm White, Visit Mississippi Director. "Our marked trails give visitors a pathway to follow as they learn about Mississippi's history and her story. This marker gives us another page in that story, and a very important one. What is arguably the nation's largest Civil Rights movement happened right here, in our back yard. That's momentous, and this marker will serve as a reminder of that significance."
On June 26, 1966, James Meredith's "March Against Fear" – led by Stokely Carmichael, Martin Luther King, Jr., Floyd McKissick, and others after Meredith was shot and wounded – ended its three-week trek from Memphis with a rally at the State Capitol. The crowd was estimated at 15,000, the largest civil rights demonstration in Mississippi history. Stirring speeches were delivered by King, Carmichael, McKissick, the wounded Meredith, and others.
When James Meredith was shot and wounded in Hernando, Mississippi, on the second day of his "March Against Fear," major civil rights leaders gathered to continue the march. Large rallies were held along the way—during some of which marchers suffered attacks of violence—in Greenwood, Philadephia, and Canton. When the rallies were widely covered in the national news, activists from across the country came to join the march on its last leg into Jackson.
Marchers entered Jackson from several different streams led by movement luminaries, as well as hundreds of dedicated veterans. The marchers amassed at the back of the Capitol, as arranged by state officials—not the front—to hear speeches and join in freedom songs. The highway patrol, Jackson police and Mississippi Army National Guard were on hand, as the city and state had vowed, after the attacks in Philadelphia and Canton, to protect the marchers.
The "March Against Fear", which brought together all the major civil rights figures and organizations and introduced into the movement the new urgency and energy, ended that afternoon on a high point of black pride and solidarity.
"During the tumultuous years of the Civil Rights era, many of the movement's most noted leaders took part in events in Mississippi," said Sarah McCullough, Cultural Heritage Manager for Visit Mississippi. "The rally marked the culmination of the 'March Against Fear.' This marker is significant in that it commemorates both the involvement of leaders such as James Meredith, who was shot on the march, Stokely Carmichael, and Martin Luther King, as well as what is considered the largest Civil Rights gathering in the state's history."