It’s a celebration! February, Black History Month, is our annual celebration of achievements of African-American people and a time for recognizing our success, our central roles that have made a difference in the world, and an undying love and appreciation of our culture. African-American culture is both distinct and influential to the lifestyles of so many Americans. This year, I wanted to highlight some of the best places to visit in Mississippi for Black History month. All of the monumental places (mostly museums) can be found throughout North, Central, and Southern Mississippi. If you happen to be near any of the places highlighted, do yourself a favor and sign up to do a tour. There’s so much to be inspired by in the Magnolia State, and I am certain that you just might learn something.
African American Military History Museum
This museum opened in 1942, for African- American soldiers that were stationed at Camp Shelby. The African-American Military Museum is the only building remaining for African-American soldiers in the United States. The museum aims to educate the public about African-American contributions to the United States military. The museum can be found on 6th Street, in Hattiesburg, Mississippi and offers free admission to guests that decide to visit the exhibits. Some of the exhibits that you can explore: Lobby Exhibits (Discover the history of the USO Club, from a WWII Recreation Building to Hattiesburg’s first African American Library and Community Center), Revolutionary War, The Founding of Hattiesburg, Buffalo Soldiers, World War I & II, Desegregation, and Desert Storm to name a few. To see how you can schedule your visit to the museum, go to their website to learn more about how you can tour the museum or make a a donation!
Delta Blues Museum
The Delta Blues Museum is place to go to explore the history and heritage of the American musical art form of the blues. If you’re looking to find meaning, value, or perspective about the blues and its origin, this museum is located in Clarksdale, Mississippi (better known as “the crossroads” of interstate sections HWY 61 and HWY 49). Established in 1979, this museum has been dedicated to the mission of preserving the story of the blues, as many of the legendary blues musical artists are born in or around Clarksdale, MS (Muddy Waters, Ike Turner, Sam Cooke). This month the museum has several historical exhibits that include: Ike Turner and Rocket 88, Panny Mayfield: Live from the Mississippi Delta, Don Nix: Memphis Man Living High, Laying Low, Blue Portraits in Steel. For those looking to purchase tickets to tour The Delta Blues Museum, General Admission is $10. Check out their website to download museum brochures, make a donation, learn more about pricing, and how to purchase your tickets.
The Grammy Museum
The Grammy family is in Mississippi! The Recording Academy Grammy Museum provides unique learning opportunities about the entire creative and technological processes of Mississippi recording artists. The Grammy Museum, located in Cleveland, Mississippi, is an interactive celebration of the power of music. In 2011, the 28,000 square foot museum was built on the campus of Delta State University, and has provided inspirational and educational public programs featuring exhibits, film, lectures, and intimate performances. This month the museum features the celebration of Jermaine Dupri, 25 Years of Jermaine Dupri and SoSoDef. Exhibit highlights include: lyric and concept books from Kris Kross, performance wardrobes for So So Def artists, the original beat machine that Jermaine Dupri used to make his earlier productions and more. To find out how you can tour this exhibit before it leaves, go to The Grammy Museum’s website to get touring information.
Mississippi Civil Rights Museum
According to their website, The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum shares the stories of a Mississippi movement that changed the nation. The museum promotes a greater understanding of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement and its impact by highlighting the strength and sacrifices of its people. Visitors will witness the freedom struggle in eight interactive galleries that show the systematic oppression of black Mississippians and their fight for equality that transformed the state and nation. The museum has eight interactive exhibits that include: Mississippi Freedom Struggle, Mississippi in Black and White, This Little Light of Mine (a soaring space filled with natural light from large windows), A Closed Society, A Tremor in the Iceberg, I Question America, Black Empowerment, and Where Do We Go From Here? Be sure to check out the website as it also lists special events happening throughout Black History Month. General Admission is $10 for adults and as of 2020, the museum now offers audio tours! This one I highly recommend to experience.
Mary O’Keefe Cultural Center
If you’re not going to be in any of the North or Central Mississippi locations this month, the Gulf Coast will have Black History events and programs throughout the month. The Mary O’Keefe Cultural Center (Ocean Springs, Mississippi) will be hosting events February 7th, 15th, and 28th for local black artists and businesses. Two of the events have free admission, and if you’re going to check out the live performances event, admission is only $5. If you are an artist or business owner, you’ll get the chance to showcase your talents and promote your brand. Check out the website for additional information.