Ground was broken in Jackson Thursday for the Mississippi Museum of History and the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
Numerous dignitaries addressed the large crowd at the groundbreaking ceremonies, including Gov. Phil Bryant, former governors Haley Barbour, William Winter and Ronnie Musgrove, and Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams, widow of slain civil rights martyr Medgar Evers.
Speaker Pro Tempore Rep. Greg Snowden of Meridian spoke on behalf of the House of Representatives. Snowden urged citizens to take the state’s history personally, declaring that “All Mississippi history belongs to all Mississippians.”
Snowden’s remarks were personal, citing references to his pioneer ancestors who helped found Lauderdale County, family members who fought in the Civil War, and others who served before him in the state legislature.
Stressing that we cannot “pick and choose” which parts of history to share, and that the bad must be told with the good, Snowden mentioned that his own ancestors were slaveholders, and revealed that a distant relative (whom he never met) had been a part of the “murder party” that killed three civil rights workers in Neshoba County in 1964.
Noting that although two museums would be built, Snowden nevertheless emphasized that Mississippi’s history is a common, undivided one.
“This is not a black history, nor a white history, nor a red history,” he said. “Rather it is the shared story of all sons and daughters of Mississippi.”
The twin structures, to be located on North Street not far from the Capitol, are expected to open in time for the state’s bicentennial celebration in 2017.