This collection of markers commemorates people, places and events of the Civil Rights movement. While marker locations span the entire state of Mississippi, several key markers are located in the Mississippi Delta region, where the Civil Rights Movement was sparked with the murder of Emmett Till. Markers in the Mississippi Delta include the Fannie Lou Hamer Gravesite in Ruleville, the Amzie Moore Home in Cleveland, the home of Dr. T.R.M. Howard in Mound Bayou, and the Bryant's Store/Emmett Till marker in Money. Plans are underway for the unveiling of a new marker honoring civil rights activist Unita Blackwell, former mayor of Mayersville and the first African American female mayor in the state of Mississippi. For a full list of marker locations, visithttp://www.visitmississippi.org/sitepages/history-and-heritage#civil-rights.
Founded in 1836 along the Mississippi River, Friar's Point was once the largest cotton shipping center south of Memphis. The historic port town remains the only place in Coahoma County with public access to the banks of the Mississippi River and is one of a few public access points to the river in the entire Mississippi Delta region. Friar's Point continues to be a point of interest for music and literary enthusiasts who travel the Delta. Blues legend Robert Johnson is said to have played in front of Hirsberg's Drugstore and made reference to Friar's Point in the song "Traveling Riverside Blues." The town has been written about by famous Mississippi writers Tennessee Williams and William Faulkner. It also is the birthplace of country music legend Conway Twitty.
In the spring of 1968, Dr. martin Luther King, Jr., visited Marks to rally support for the Southern Christian Leadership Conference's "Poor People's Campaign", a nationwide march to Washington, D.C., to raise awareness of economic disparity and persistent poverty. Dr. King was so moved by the desperate conditions in marks that he promoted it as the starting point for the campaign's network of traveling groups. His assassination a few weeks later delayed the implementation of the campaign until May, when nine caravans of poverty-stricken protestors began their slow way toward the East Coast from Several locations.
One hundred and fifteen Quitman County residents, ranging in age from eight months to 70 years old, left Marks on May 13, traveling in more than a dozen mule-drawn wagons. On June 19, 1968, Quitman County's famous "Mule Train" rolled into the nation's capitol and joined the large protest on the National Mall.
The murder of 14-year-old Emmett Till in 1955 has been described as the “spark that lit the fuse of the modern Civil Rights Movement.” The Emmett Till Trail includes key sites where the Till tragedy unfolded. Visit Bryant’s Grocery Store in Money, Mississippi, where events leading up to the Till's murder began. Experience the Emmett Till Historic Intrepid Center, a community-based museum located in a former cotton gin that provides a moving local interpretation of the tragedy. See the site of the Emmett Till murder trial at the Sumner Courthouse in Tallahatchie County, which has been restored to its 1955 appearance.
Baptist Town in Greenwood, MS was a safe haven for bluesman and legendary artist like Honeyboy Edwards, Robert Johnson, and many more. According to Edwards, Baptist Town was a safe haven for a musician who wanted to escape work in the cotton fields, and both he and Johnson found places to stay here in 1938 on Young Street. They performed locally at the Three Forks juke joint where Johnson was allegedly poisoned by a jealous lover or her husband, and spent some of his final days on Young Street, Edwards recalled. Begin at Hoover’s Grocery Store and travel to the Back in the Day Museum located in Baptist town for visual artifacts and images of a time in southern Black history. Experience Baptist Towns very own Robert Johnson Blues Festival this April 30, 2016 for more of that rich blues culture.
The Museum of the Mississippi Delta is at the crossroads of Delta history and art. The museum boasts a room dedicated to the agricultural history of our region with photographs and farming implements on display. A Civil War-era cannon and a model of the battle of nearby Fort Pemberton are featured in the Leflore County Military History exhibit, focusing on the effect of various wars on Greenwood and its citizens. Peek into the past to view life in the early Mississippi Delta, from colonial trade beads to the history of King Cotton and on to contemporary regional art.
Established in 2012, Bridging the Blues is an exciting series of music, food, and cultural events in late September and early October. Events take place in various locations throughout the Mississippi Delta region, as well as Memphis and Arkansas. Bridging the Blues offers a wide range of experiences seven days a week, including shows at local juke joints, small town arts festivals, and the International Conference on the Blues at Delta State University. Drawing thousands of tourists from around the United States and the world, Bridging the Blues is anchored by the King Biscuit Blues Festival in Helena, Arkansas, and the Mighty Mississippi Music Festival along the Mississippi River in Greenville, Mississippi.
Doe's Eat Place was established in 1941 by Dominick "Doe" Signa and his wife Mamie. Doe's Father moved to Greenville in 1903 and opened a grocery store in the building that now serves as the restaurant. The family lived in a house behind the store. The grocery which the Signa Family called Papa's Store did well until the 1927 flood. After that, Big Doe Signa went into bootlegging to help the family get back on its feet. After several years he sold his 40 barrel still for $300.00 and a Model T Ford. Around 1941 Mamie received a partial recipe for hot tamales. She improved the recipe and began selling them. That was the beginning of Doe's.
At first Signa ran a honky tonk in the front part of the store. It was strictly for blacks. He had things like buffalo fish and chili. Ironically, the "carriage" trade arrived by the back door, like segregation in reverse. One of the local doctors began coming for a meal between calls. Big Doe would cook him up a steak and feed him in the back. Pretty soon the doctor brought another doctor then a lawyer and before he knew it Doe had a regular restaurant in the back. After calling in family and in-laws to help with his thriving restaurant, he eventually closed the honky tonk and focused on the eat place.
Big Doe Signa retired in 1974 and turned the business over to his sons Charles and Little Doe. Today they still carry on the family tradition of greeting customers in the front kitchen that was the original honky tonk. Though time has taken a toll on the building, it only adds to the atmosphere of dining at an old family restaurant where the true authenticity of the 1940's grocery and restaurant remains.
An exciting cultural center anchored by an early 20th century brick cotton gin, the B.B. King Museum is dedicated to the celebration and presentation of the life and hard work of B.B. King and the music and history of the Mississippi
Delta. With 20,000 square feet of modern exhibit space, the B.B. King Museum includes thousands of rare artifacts, award-winning film, computer interactives, and a story that will give your emotions a workout. The B.B. King Museum also offers art, music, and health workshops in the AT&T Learning Center as well as special performances in the state-of-the-art theater for the community. After his death in May 2015, B.B. was laid to rest on the grounds of the museum, and visitors can come reflect on his legacy as a world-renowned musician and humble gentleman.
As a National Park Service partner, the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area participates in the Passport to Your National Parks program. MDNHA passport stations are located in each of the MDNHA's 18 counties and are available through cultural, tourism, and municipal organizations. Passport stamp collectors who successfully gather stamps from all 18 counties are eligible to receive the MDNHA’s NPS Centennial Passport t-shirt as a prize for traveling the entire MDNHA. For the complete list of passport station locations, visit http://www.msdeltaheritage.com/ms-delta-national-heritage-area-mdnha-passport/.
In the heyday of rail traffic, locomotives were steam powered and fueled by way of structures such as this in Lambert. The original one built in the 1800s was made of wood, but this concrete structure was built in the early 1900s and served its purpose until the mid-twentieth century when the fuel of choice became diesel. Because of the high cost of demolition, a few of these iconic towers remain in place and are often sought out by railfans for photo opportunities.