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Organized in 1891, First Union is the site of 1960s Civil Rights organizational meetings & a visit from Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. & Reverend Jesse Jackson. Memorial services for James Chaney, slain civil rights activist and his mother were held here.
The Freedom House served as a gathering place during the Civil Rights movement, as well as housing for the field secretaries of the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee (SNCC).
The Freedom Summer Trail is a compilation of historic sites of Freedom Summer 1964 and the Civil Rights Movement in Hattiesburg. The tour begins at the Hattiesburg Visitors Center. Maps and audio tours are available to guide you with narratives describing the significance of each site.
Giles Penny Saver Store was located in what is now a residence. Giles was a neighborhood store located adjacent to the home of Mr. and Mrs. Oscar Giles. On May 1, 1965, the store was firebombed as retribution for the Giles's participation in the local branch of the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party. The store was not destroyed, however, and the Giles operated it until 1988.
On May 28, 1961, a Greyhound bus with nine Freedom Riders aboard arrived here, the third group of Riders into Jackson. The first two came on Trailways buses May 24. That summer 329 people were arrested in Jackson for integrating public transportation facilities.
During Freedom Summer of 1964, the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) planned the construction of this community center. In 1965, Fannie Lou Hamer spoke at meetings here.
Owned and operated by Martha Hollins Ford, Hollins Grocery was located in this building. It was the center of a neighborhood known as the "Bear's Den." Several Civil Rights workers were housed by local families in the neighborhood, and several Freedom Riders lived in a room at the back of Mrs. Ford's house.
Mrs. Magruder was the first person in Indianola to house Civil Rights workers during Freedom Summer in 1964. The House was firebombed on May 1, 1965. A new residence is on the site, which is a Mississippi Landmark.
Tragedy struck Jackson State College on May 15, 1970, when Jackson police and Mississippi Highway Patrol officers suppressed student unrest with intense gunfire. Phillip Lafayette Gibbs and James Earl Green were killed and many injured when bullets riddled Alexander Hall and peppered nearby areas.
James Chaney, a native Meridian, was one of three CORE-COFO workers slain in Neshoba County in June 1964, during the turbulant Civil Rights era.
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