Freedom Trail marker notes 1961 Jackson Library sit-in

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A Mississippi Freedom Trail marker memorializing the 1961 Jackson Municipal Library Sit-In was dedicated Thursday in Jackson, Mississippi Development Authority officials announced in a press release.

The marker is the 25th on the trail.

“The Mississippi Freedom Trail tells an important part of our story as a people,” Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray said in the press release. “The courage shown by these college students in pursuit of their education and equal rights for all continues to inspire more than 50 years later.”

The press release gave the following recap of events that day:

“Nine Tougaloo College students entered Jackson Municipal Library on March 27, 1961, to research books unavailable at the segregated Carver Library. Soon afterward, police arrested Meredith Anding, Jr., James “Sammy” Bradford, Alfred Cook, Geraldine Edwards, Janice Jackson, Joseph Jackson, Jr., Albert Lassiter, Gloria Pierce and Ethel Sawyer on charges of breach of peace.”

“Support for the students spread quickly. By 7 p.m., nearly 700 people joined NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers for a prayer meeting outside the library. The next day, Jackson State University students rallied and marched toward the city jail. They were met by police resistance and force including clubs, tear gas and dogs. Although the Tougaloo students were initially convicted, fined and given 30-day suspended sentences, a judge threw out the case on appeal.”

Dr. Leslie-Burl McLemore, chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Trail Task Force noted that the non-violent actions of the students “inspired young African Americans across the state to integrate public parks, swimming pools, stores and movie theaters.”

“By illuminating this chapter in our history, we honor their contributions to advancing the civil rights cause,” McLemore said.

McLemore unveiled the marker alongside Tougaloo College President Dr. Beverly Hogan and Rickey Jones, past chairman of the Jackson/Hinds Library System Board of Trustees

The Mississippi Freedom Trail was launched in 2011 and commemorates the people, places and events of the civil rights movement. Additional information is provided at  www.visitmississippi.org.