Looking Back and Moving Forward
Celebrating 200 years of Mississippi history and the state's bright future.
The Bicentennial will be celebrated all year long, from the three marquee Mississippi Bicentennial Celebrations to events large and small in communities all around the state. As Mississippians come together around a shared history, keep up with celebrations from the Gulf Coast to the River, and through the Pines, Delta and Hills regions here.
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Jackson Interfaith Civil Rights Committee To Commemorate Civil Rights Church Visit Campaign of 1963 and 1964
December 2 @ 2:00 pm - December 4 @ 5:00 pm
From Saturday, December 2, through Monday, December 4, the Jackson Interfaith Civil Rights Committee is hosting a series of free events entitled The Kneel-Ins: The Voices and the Vision Forward to commemorate the church visit campaign of 1963 and 1964. These programs are supported by the Mississippi Humanities Council.
The Jackson Kneel-In movement was an attempt by an interracial group of students, parishioners, and civil rights activists to integrate Protestant and Catholic churches in downtown Jackson. Organizers used direct-action protest to urge the church-goers and ministers at segregated churches to open their sanctuaries to African-American worshipers.
“Studying the Jackson Kneel-In movement and honoring the lessons of its legacy offers a powerful opportunity to ask questions about the systemic ways that our community and culture still support inequality today,” said St. Andrew’s Episcopal Cathedral member and producer of the documentary “Eyes on Mississippi” Ellen Ann Fentress. “The goal of this programming is to foster a dialogue about the continuing legacy of racism, informed by this important chapter of the Mississippi civil rights movement.”
Events begin at 2 p.m. Saturday, December 2 at Woodworth Chapel on the campus of
Tougaloo College, with a panel discussion about the Kneel-In movement moderated by Carter
Dalton Lyon, author of Sanctuaries of Segregation: The Story of the Jackson Church Visit
Campaign. Panelists include civil rights veteran Rims Barber; Kneel-In movement participants
Camille McKey and Ida Hannah Sanders; Joe Reiff, author of Born of Conviction: White
Methodists and Mississippi’s Closed Society; and Kneel-In movement leader and former
Tougaloo chaplain Rev. Ed King. Parking is available on campus.
At 2 p.m. Sunday, December 3, at the Old Capitol Museum House Chamber, Augustus Argrett will lead a discussion themed “How Do We Kneel-In and Witness in Jackson Today?” Von Gordon of the William Winter Institute for Racial Reconciliation; author Ralph Eubanks; Central United Methodist Church pastor Rev. David McCoy; civil rights veteran and minister John Perkins; and Perry Perkins of Working Together Jackson all will serve as panel participants. Parking is available behind the museum.
At noon Monday, December 4, Charlene Thompson will give an introduction to the Smith Robertson Museum followed by a free, self-guided tour of the museum, which chronicles the history of African-Americans in Mississippi and features exhibitions on Medgar Evers and on the Woolworth’s Sit-in. Afterward, at 6:00 p.m. Monday, an ecumenical service will be held at Galloway United Methodist Church featuring the Piney Woods School Choir, poets, and other speakers. All Galloway parking lots will be available and nursery will be provided for children ages 5 and under. For nursery contact Rev. Elizabeth Henry email@example.com or 601-353-9691.
All of the events are free and open to the public.
The Kneel-In project is made possible by a grant from the Mississippi Humanities Council, through support from the National Endowment for the Humanities. Any views, findings, conclusions, or recommendations expressed in this program do not necessarily represent those of the National Endowment for the Humanities or the Mississippi Humanities Council.
In a separate, but related event on Thursday, November 30, Beth Israel Synagogue and the State Chapter of the NAACP will present “Civil Rights & Jews: Continuing the Special Relationship.” Fifty years ago, the synagogue and rabbi’s home were bombed and Mississippi Jews, the NAACP and other civil rights groups worked together to promote integration and racial equality in Jackson and in Mississippi. Panelists will include Corey Wiggins, president of the Mississippi NAACP; Stuart Rockoff, executive director of the Mississippi Humanities Council; Frank Figgers, Mississippi NAACP, and Beth Orlansky,
Mississippi Center for Justice. The discussion will take place at 7 p.m. at Beth Israel Synagogue, 5315 Old Canton Road in Jackson.