The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum: Jackson, Miss.
When the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum opened its doors on Dec. 9, 2017, it astonished.
Half of the newly built Museum of Mississippi History, this was the first civil rights museum anywhere to be sponsored by a state government. And the state was Mississippi, where the Confederate symbol still remained a part of the official flag.
Strenuous lobbying by a coalition of civic leaders, including former Gov. William Winter, a Democrat, and a then-sitting Republican governor, Haley Barbour, made the museum happen. Mississippi had been ground zero of the civil rights years and the struggles here, they argued, required remembrance.
The schema at the museum involves taking visitors through a series of galleries designed to transport them into another time. An exhibit on the experiences of black soldiers after they returned home from World War II, “A Closed Society,” includes artifacts belonging to Medgar Evers, who helped build the civil rights movement in those years. Another gallery takes the visitor into the living room of Mr. Evers and his wife, Myrlie Evers, on the June 1963 night that the white nationalist, Byron De La Beckwith, shot him in the driveway of their Jackson home.