Civil Rights Sites from Charles E. Cobb Jr.’s “On the Road to Freedom”

I mentioned in the comments section for “Another Vanishing Civil Rights Landmark” that there was a book (that I could not think of at the time) that has a list of various Mississippi Civil Rights Movement sites. That book is Charles E. Cobb Jr.’s On the Road to Freedom: A Guided Tour of the Civil Rights Trail published in 2008 by Algonquin Books of Chapel Hill. There are probably few living individuals more qualified to write about where the Civil Rights Movement took place in Mississippi than Cobb. I will let his short biography from the book explain:

In 1962, Charles E. Cobb Jr. left Howard University to work as a field secretary for the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee in the Mississippi Delta. He originated the “Freedom School” proposal that became a crucial part of the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project. A founding member of the National Association of Black Journalists, Cobb has reported for NPR, PBS’s Frontline, National Geographic, and WHUR Radio in Washington, D.C. Cobb is a senior writer for AllAfrica.com. He is the coauthor of Radical Equations with civil rights organizer and educator Robert P. Moses.

Needless to say, given his experience in the state and all the events that happened in Mississippi, the chapter on the Magnolia State is the second longest in the book (Alabama beats it by only a few pages).

I am not going to reproduce verbatim Cobb’s chapter on Mississippi, for copyright reasons as well as space and time limitations. However, this post consists of the various Civil Rights sites listed in On the Road to Freedom, divided by city. This is merely a list of places, go buy the book if you want the history behind these places. I don’t have any copies for sale but my fellow Amazon sellers and the publisher have plenty of copies.

I hope that this post can be the beginning of a comprehensive list of African American and Civil Rights sites in Mississippi. The Civil Rights Movement was a revolution, an evolutionary leap in the way in which Mississippian and Southern society was structured. Americans in all parts of the country, whether willingly or not, moved into the direction our founding principles always had us pointing in. There is no reason why the sites associated with such a profound movement should be abandoned, forgotten, neglected, or demolished and turned into weed and rubble-strewn lots with gleaming green historic markers adjacent. We have seen too many of those markers with nothing left to mark. Let us preserve the Civil Rights Movement sites that remain because it is the history of everyone, telling the story of how we began moving from ignorance and oppression to the Americans we always should have been.

Note: The names and addresses come from On the Road to Freedom. I have made very few changes to any of them. Also, I have organized the listings alphabetically within each city. The book organizes them by place, which makes more sense in the book but would be unorganized in list form.

Cleveland

  • Amzie Moore’s Home – 614 Chrisman Avenue

Greenwood

  • Broad Street Park – Broad Street between Avenue M and N
  • Cottonlandia Museum – 1608 Highway 82 West
  • Elks Hall – Scott Street and Avenue F
  • First Christian Church (East Percy Street Christian Church) – 100 East Percy Street
  • Greenwood City Hall – Church and Main Street
  • Sanders Building – 708 Avenue N
  • SNCC/COFO Office – 616 Avenue I
  • Turner Chapel – 717 Walthall Street
  • Wesley United Methodist Church – 800 Howard Street

Indianola

  • Penny Savers Store – 100 block Church Street

Jackson

  • Alamo Theater – 333 North Farish Street
  • Big Johns Restaurant – 507 1/2 Farish Street
  • COFO Headquarters – 1017 Lynch Street
  • Collins Funeral Home – 415 Farish Street
  • F. W. Woolworth Store – 124 East Capitol Street (Now One Jackson Place)
  • The “Freedom House” – 714 Rose Street
  • Greyhound Bus Station – 219 South Lamar Street
  • Hinds County Courthouse – 407 East Pascagoula Street (Includes the Hinds County Detention Center and Hinds County Jail with this listing)
  • Jackson City Jail and Municipal Court Building – 327 West Pascagoula Street
  • Jackson Municipal Public Library – 301 North State Street
  • Jackson State University – 1400 Lynch Street (Lists the Fannie Lou Hamer Institute as a specific site within the University, in addition to Jackson State’s role in the Civil Rights Movement)
  • Masonic Temple – 1072 Lynch Street
  • Medgar Evers House Museum – 2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive
  • Medgar Evers Library and Statue – 4215 Medgar Evers Boulevard
  • Mississippi Free Press – 538 Farish Street
  • Mississippi State Capitol – 400 High Street
  • Mississippi State Fairgrounds (Fairgrounds Complex) – Jefferson and Amite Streets
  • Old Mississippi State Capitol (Old Capitol Museum) – 100 South State Street
  • Pearl Street AME Church – 925 West Pearl Street
  • Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center – 528 Bloom Street
  • SNCC/CORE Lynch Street Office – 1104 Lynch Street
  • Tougaloo College – 500 West County Road (Lists Woodworth Chapel and the Tougaloo College Archives as specific sites within the College, in addition to Tougaloo’s role in the Civil Rights Movement)
  • WLBT Television Station – 715 South Jefferson Street
  • Woolfolk State Office Building Building – 501 North West Street

McComb

  • Burgland High School – 1000 Elmwood Street
  • C.C. Bryant House – 1533 Venable Street
  • Greyhound Bus Terminal – 206 Canal Street
  • Martin Luther King Memorial Center – 601 MLK Drive
  • Masonic Hall/Burgland Super Market – 630 Warren Street
  • Pike County Jail (Magnolia)
  • Society Hill M.B. Church – 4098 Hwy 51 S (rebuilt after fire-bombing)
  • South of the Border – 500 Summit Street
  • St. Paul United Methodist Church – 711 Warren Street
  • Woolworth’s – 205 S. Main Street

Meridian

  • COFO/CORE office – 2505 1/2 Fifth Street

Mileston

  • Mileston Community Center
  • Sanctified Church

Money

  • Bryant’s Grocery

Philadelphia

  • COFO Office – 242-244 Carver Avenue
  • Jones House – 241 Carver Avenue
  • McCelland’s Cafe – 245 Carver Avenue
  • Mt. Nebo M.B. Church – 257 Carver Avenue
  • Mt. Zion Baptist Church – Longdale community E of Philadelphia
  • Neshoba County Courthouse
  • Neshoba County Jail – 422 Myrtle Street

Ruleville

  • Dockery Plantation
  • Mack’s Colored Cafe – Front Street
  • Marlow Plantation
  • McDonald House – 909 Reden Street
  • Sisson House – Byron Street and L.F. Packer Drive
  • Williams Chapel Missionary Baptist Church – O.B. Avenue


Categories: African American History, Books, Civil Rights, Cleveland, Courthouses, Greenwood, Historic Preservation, Jackson, Libraries, McComb, Meridian, Philadelphia, Theaters, Universities/Colleges

7 replies

  1. Thanks for this dynamic post, and the book information. I have just ordered it; feel a road trip coming on.

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  2. I think the Vernon Dahmer House north of Hattiesburg belongs on any list of Civil Rights sites. He was killed in a fire-bombing of his home, after working to register voters in his rural community.

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    • That’s a tricky one. Do you nominate the site where the bombed house stood or the location his family rebuilt upon? Or find a standing structure associated with Dahmer to list? I just bring this up because W. White mentioned that too many Civil Rights sites are becoming vacant lots.

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    • But in this case, and a few others, it’s the vacant lot that’s significant because it was made vacant by violence. I think it has to be the site of the original house, but certainly if that site isn’t publicly accessible, a historic marker nearby, like at the Dahmer residence, is appropriate.

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  3. I have been using this book extensively when touring the southern states. I just visited the site of the Orangeburg massacre on the South Carolina State College/University campus. I also visited the All Star Bowling Lane and found it closed, boarded up but with many items still intact within the locked building. Will there ever be an attempt at claiming some of the artifacts to be placed into a museum, or does the family of Harry Floyd still have rights to this property?

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Trackbacks

  1. New Grant Program for Civil Rights Sites | Preservation in Mississippi
  2. Fielder & Brooks Drug Store/COFO Building and the Remembrance of the Civil Rights Movement’s Historic Sites « Preservation in Mississippi

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