When we planned this trip last year we knew we were traveling along the Mississippi River from NOLA to Chicago. So when the new Civil Rights Museum opened in Jackson, we included it on our itinerary.The museum is a comprehensive look at race relations in Mississippi with a focus on the 20th century. We were impressed with the honest telling of this history, no whitewash here. The museum is set up with a central hub with exhibit halls radiating from it.
It felt like the museum was making an attempt to validate the experiences of Black Mississippians while starting a healing process in Mississippi. Certainly Mississippi as well as the rest of the country have a long way to go but this museum is a positive step. We had the opportunity to meet and speak with a Jackson native who was arrested when the Freedom Riders rolled into Jackson. He was thirteen and was held on death row at Parchment Farm. No bitterness or hate, he was just grateful to be alive and still able struggle against racism.
The Civil Rights Museum is right next to the Mississippi State History Museum. It takes a few hours to get through the Civil Rights Museum. We took a break from that and went into a display of quilts made in Mississippi. The exhibit was called “Stories Unfolded”. Those stories went from the early 1800’s to the present.Most of the quilts were hand quilted. Amazing detail work.
We set up camp at Lefleurs Bluff State Park. The park is a large green space surrounded by suburban sprawl.
The park put us in position to investigate some Jackson neighborhoods. We had lunch and explored the Fondren neighborhood. This is an up and coming neighborhood with a food coop, restaurants and art galleries.
“Bubba”(really), who we met at the art gallery, recommended that we explore the Belhaven neighborhood. What lovely homes!! Eudora Welty’s house and gardens were in the neighborhood. They were closed for the day but we did have a look around.
We’ve been enjoying our stay in Mississippi. We’ve met so many friendly and helpful folks. The Mississippi we’ve encountered does not comport with it’s northern stereotype.
We left Jackson by way of 49W on our way to the Crossroads of the Delta.This petrified wood is in a small park in Flora-just north of Jackson. The driftwood logs were buried in mud about 36 million years ago and have eroded from the banks of the ravine.
Next stop:The Blues Highway.