Mississippi Museums Display Exhibits on Civil Rights-Era Killings

In Summary

The interactive museum exhibits allows visitors to say the name of people killed due to racial violence “to begin their story.” 

Two interactive Mississippi museums feature the traveling exhibit “Un(re)solved” which asks visitors to verbally speak the names of people killed due to racially charged violence in the United States during the civil rights era.  

The exhibits are located in downtown Jackson at The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and Museum of Mississippi History, which share the same lobby, meeting areas and exhibit spaces.  

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“Un(re)solved” is displayed in a dark room where the names of the 150 men, women and children lost to racial killings appear on lighted glass panels, backed by images of trees. Visitors can scan a code next to each name with their cell phones.  

Once a visitor scans the code, they will hear the voice of the recorded narrator; journalist Charlayne Hunter-Gault. Hunter-Gault made history in 1961 as one of the first Black students to enroll in the University of Georgia.  

“Say his name to begin his story,” or “Say her name to begin her story,” is what visitors will hear from Hunter-Gault.  

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The exhibit opened in Mississippi on Aug. 28, which marked 66 years since the murder of Emmett Till. Till was a Black teenager from Chicago who was kidnapped, severely beaten, tortured and killed in Mississippi for a lie saying he whistled at a white woman, Carolyn Bryant.  

“These are family members that are just walking around trying to have peace and still can’t have peace because they lost a loved one to something so traumatic,” said Pamela D.C. Junior, director of the two Mississippi Museums. “Think about all these names here and people who still don’t have peace because they are unsolved lynchings, murders.” 

If you or someone you know is struggling from trauma triggered by this story, resources are available here.   

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