A group portrait of the “Tougaloo Nine,” a group of Tougaloo College students who participated in a “read-in” at the “white-only” Jackson Municipal Library in 1961, rests below their Jackson Police Department booking photographs in a display in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum that one-end on Saturday.


Mississippi’s role in the national civil rights movement is the subject of two panel discussions being hosted Thursday evening at the Old Capitol.

“We thought, ‘why not make the point that what happened in Mississippi during the civil rights movement affected the national movement’,” said Jere Nash, an organizer of the event and a Mississippi Book Festival board member.

“In other words, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum is not just a Mississippi museum but a museum for the entire country because so much of what happened in the state in the 1950s and 1960s affected national strategy and congressional initiatives and national fundraising,” Nash said in an email.

Entitled “How Mississippi Changed America” the panel discussions, beginning at 4 p.m. in the House Rotunda on the 2nd floor are open to the public.

The event is sponsored by the Margaret Walker Center at Jackson State University, the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Tougaloo College and the Mississippi Book Festival. Funding came in part from grants from the Mississippi Humanities Council, Visit Mississippi and a grant from the W.K. Kellogg Foundation.

The first panel features journalist Randall Pinkston interviewing authors Charles E. Cobb Jr., Emilye Crosby, Francoise Hamlin and Tiyi Morris. At 5:30 p.m., W. Ralph Eubanks has a discussion with Clayborne Carson.

According to promotional material from the event organizers, the discussion helps make the point that “as the people in the trenches in this state fought for change, their strategies and activtiesaffected the movement beyond its borders – including other states and the powerful halls of the nation’s capital.”

Carson is an American History professor at Stanford University and author of “In Struggle: SNCC and the Black Awakening of the 1960s.”

Cobb is a professor and former journalist and activist who has authored several books including “On the Road To Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail.”

Crosby is a history professor and author of “A Little Taste of Freedom: The Black Freedom Struggle in Claiborne County, Mississippi.”

Hamlin teaches Africana studies at Brown University and is the author of “Crossroads at Clarksdaale: The Black Freedom Struggle in the Mississippi Delta after WWII.”

Morris is the author of “Womanpower Unlimited and the Black Freedom Struggle in Mississippi.”

Pinkston, a Millsaps College graduate, is an award winning broadcast journalist and lecturer.

Eubanks, a visiting professor at Ole Miss and formerly editor of the Virginia Quarterly Review is the author of “Ever is a Long Time: A Journey into Mississippi’s Dark Past.”




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Co-editor of Mississippi Today since November 2015. USA TODAY reporter and editor, 1986-2015. The Clarion-Ledger reporter, 1977-83; on team that earned 1983 Pulitzer Prize For Distinguished Public Service. Ole Miss journalism degree, 1977. Contact: fred@mississippitoday.org