Jackson Library Sit-In Marker Dedicated on Mississippi Freedom Trail
Jackson, Mississippi — August 17, 2017 — A Mississippi Freedom Trail marker memorializing the 1961 Jackson Municipal Library Sit-In was dedicated today in Jackson. This is the state’s 25th marker on the trail.
“The Mississippi Freedom Trail tells an important part of our story as a people,” said Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray. “The courage shown by these college students in pursuit of their education and equal rights for all continues to inspire more than 50 years later.”
Nine Tougaloo College students entered Jackson Municipal Library on March 27, 1961, to research books unavailable at the segregated Carver Library. Soon afterward, police arrested Meredith Anding, Jr., James “Sammy” Bradford, Alfred Cook, Geraldine Edwards, Janice Jackson, Joseph Jackson, Jr., Albert Lassiter, Gloria Pierce and Ethel Sawyer on charges of breach of peace.
Support for the students spread quickly. By 7 p.m., nearly 700 people joined NAACP field secretary Medgar Evers for a prayer meeting outside the library. The next day, Jackson State University students rallied and marched toward the city jail. They were met by police resistance and force including clubs, tear gas and dogs. Although the Tougaloo students were initially convicted, fined and given 30-day suspended sentences, a judge threw out the case on appeal.
“The non-violent actions of these brave students inspired young African Americans across the state to integrate public parks, swimming pools, stores and movie theaters,” said Dr. Leslie-Burl McLemore, chairman of the Mississippi Freedom Trail Task Force. “By illuminating this chapter in our history, we honor their contributions to advancing the civil rights cause.”
McLemore unveiled the marker alongside Tougaloo College President Dr. Beverly Hogan and Past Chairman of the Jackson/Hinds Library System Board of Trustees Rickey Jones.
The Mississippi Freedom Trail was launched in 2011 and commemorates the people, places and events of the civil rights movement. For additional information, please visit www.visitmississippi.org.