Mississippi Civil Rights Museum having strong impact on visitors

Mississippi Civil Rights Museum having strong impact on visitors
(Photo source: WDAM)
(Photo source: WDAM)

JACKSON, MS (WDAM) - The Mississippi Civil Rights museum in Jackson is making a strong impression on those who visit it, from both inside and outside the state.

"I think it's great, it's beautifully presented and very educational," said Tom Gaines, a recent visitor from Blue Springs, Missouri.

"When you walk through it, you feel the story and some of us know parts of it, but it is like you were there," said Jasmin Chapman, another visitor from Jackson.

The museum, which opened eight weeks ago, features eight galleries and takes visitors through the slave trade, reconstruction and segregation to the modern civil rights movement.

"1945 to 1975 is what we look at," said Pamela Junior, museum director. "The overall goal for the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is to be a teaching tool, an educational tool that can teach people about the civil rights movement in the State of Mississippi."

The movement owed much to Hattiesburg and the Pine Belt.

And Junior said the stories of civil rights pioneers like Vernon Dahmer, Clyde Kennard and others from the Hub City area are told in detail.

"They were resilient people who wanted to make a change in Hattiesburg, so we are so happy that we're able to focus on these stories that happened in Hattiesburg," Junior said.

Junior said everyone can learn something by visiting the museum.

She said most importantly, you can see how people worked together to make Mississippi a better place.

"It is the good, the bad and the ugly, but you know what, it's OK, because once we go through this, what a wonderful thing that we can do is to come together, all races to say, 'it did happen in Mississippi, where do we go from here.'"

The total cost of the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and its companion facility, the Museum of Mississippi History was about $90 million.