The Mississippi Department of Archives and History announced the recipients of the Mississippi Civil Rights Historical Sites grant on their website this week. These applications were due back in the Spring (I thought for sure I had announced them here on the blog, but I can’t find the post if I did), and as far as I know this was a one-time grant program, not an on-going annual program.
Here’s the MDAH announcement. I wish I had some pictures to add to help y’all visualize these places, but I’ll have to work on gathering those in the coming months:
The Delta courthouse where the Emmett Till murder trial was held, the Jackson home of NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers, and the Gulf Coast office of physician Gilbert Mason are among the eleven sites across the state receiving grants from the Department of Archives and History. The board of trustees approved more than $2 million in awards through the Mississippi Civil Rights Historical Sites program at their quarterly meeting Friday, July 22.
The grant awards are as follows:
Holy Family Catholic Church, Natchez, Adams County—$169,500 to Holy Family Catholic Church
16 Orange Ave, Natchez
The award will be used to install a new roof and repair gutters, interior plaster, and pews in this church where the Natchez civil rights movement openly began with a 1955 meeting to integrate the local schools.
Mississippi Freedom Trail Marker Program, statewide—$210,000 to Mississippi Development Authority
The award will be used for markers in the Mississippi Freedom Trail, a statewide project commemorating the state’s civil rights heritage.
Amzie Moore House, Cleveland, Bolivar County—$199,989 to Bolivar County Board of Supervisors
614 Christman Avenue, Cleveland
The award will be used to restore and preserve the house of Amzie Moore, a leader and organizer in the civil rights movement who provided safe haven for many active in the movement.
Bay Springs School, Hattiesburg, Forrest County—$150,400 to Dennis Dahmer
Kelley Settlement Community, Hattiesburg
The award will be used for completion of ongoing restoration work at this site, which was used by Vernon F. Dahmer, Sr., for civil rights organization meetings, voter registration projects, and as a recreational site for student workers participating in Freedom Summer.
Eureka School Hattiesburg, Forrest County—$210,000 to the Hattiesburg Convention Commission
410 East 6th Street, Hattiesburg
The award will be used for rehabilitation of the school cafeteria-auditorium and creation of an entrance to the property from the neighboring historic Mobile Street. The historic African American school will be developed into a museum focusing on Freedom Summer in Hattiesburg.
Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr. Medical Office, Biloxi, Harrison County—$35,210 to the estate of Dr. Gilbert R. Mason, Sr.
670 Division St., Biloxi
The award will be used to stabilize the roof, reconstruct the iconic reception desk, install a drinking fountain, and develop a permanent exhibit about Mason, who founded the Biloxi branch of the NAACP, initiated nonviolent “wade-in” protests, filed the state’s first school desegregation lawsuit, and established his medical practice in the heart of the African American community of Biloxi.
Medgar Evers House Museum, Jackson, Hinds County—$210,000 to Tougaloo College
2332 Margaret Walker Alexander Drive, Jackson
The award will be used to replace the roof, stabilize the foundation, repoint masonry, and paint exterior wood trim at the museum, which preserves and interprets the house of Medgar Evers, one of the earliest civil rights leaders in the state.
Medgar Evers’ First NAACP Field Office, Jackson, Hinds County—$208,104 to Farish Street/Main Street Project
507-509 N. Farish Street, Jackson
The award will be used stabilize the building that housed Evers’s office when he began work as Mississippi field secretary for the NAACP in 1954.
Fielder & Brooks Drug Store-COFO Center, Meridian, Lauderdale County—$210,000 to Freedom 64, Inc.
2505-2505 1/2 5th Street, Meridian
The award will be used to stabilize the roof, windows, and doors, and restore the exterior of the building that was the work site of the three civil rights workers killed in Neshoba County in 1964. Michael Schwerner and his wife Rita, along with James E. Chaney, set up the Meridian COFO Community Center on the second floor of the building.
Historic Storefront Restoration: Ben Roy’s Service Station, Money, Leflore County—$152,004.80 to Annette T. Morgan and Harry Ray Tribble
27766 County Road 518, Money
The award will be used to restore the interior, exterior, and grounds of the service station adjacent to Bryant Grocery, where Emmett Till allegedly whistled at a white woman.
Tallahatchie 2nd Dist. Courtroom, Sumner, Tallahatchie County—$210,000 to Tallahatchie County Board of Supervisors
200 Center Court St., Sumner
The award will be used to restore the courthouse where the 1955 Emmett Till murder trial was held.
The Mississippi Civil Rights Historical Sites grant program provides funds for repairs, renovations, and improvements to eligible sites. The Board of Trustees of the Department of Archives and History determines which properties to recommend for funding to the Mississippi Development Authority.
Eligible properties must be associated with a significant event, action, or person from the civil rights era in Mississippi, 1945-70. Sites that will be open to the public receive priority for grant assistance. Grant recipients must enter into a twenty-five-year preservation and maintenance covenant that safeguards the state’s investment by providing MDAH oversight of alterations to the building during that time.
The maximum grant any project may receive is $210,000. Recipients must provide a twenty percent match of either cash or in-kind contributions. Grant funds will be provided on a reimbursable basis once all work is completed and approved by MDAH.
Members of the board of trustees are President Kane Ditto, Jackson; Vice-president Rosemary Taylor Williams, Corinth; Reuben V. Anderson, Jackson; E. Jackson Garner, Jackson; R. Webster Heidelberg, Hattiesburg; Duncan M. Morgan, Natchez; Hilda Cope Povall, Cleveland; Martis D. Ramage, Jr., Belden; and Roland Weeks, Biloxi.
To learn more about the Mississippi Civil Rights Historical Sites grant program, call 601-576-6940.