In Jackson the first stop was the Council of Federated Organizations, COFO. Frank Figgers gave us an interesting talk at the Masonic Temple-NAACP Headquarters, including information on their voter rights work. We saw the Freedom House, the Pratt Memorial United Methodist Church, Mount Olive Cemetery, Gibbs-Green Walkway and Plaza, Campbell College, and Rose E. McCoy Auditorium. Lunch was served at the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center.
In the afternoon activist Hollis Watkins talked about the Veterans of the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement at Tougaloo College. The last stop was the Medgar Evers House.
Reflections about the sites in Jackson
“My favorite part of the trip was meeting Hollis Watkins, a Civil Rights leader who worked with Medgar Evers. When we drove up to the Medgar Evers house, my stomach flipped. This was the real house. It wasn’t a museum; it was a real home. We saw the bullet holes made when one of the bullets shot at Mr. Evers hit the fridge. After we were done touring, we lined up for a picture. We all huddled in to hear Hollis as he gave us life advice. He was gentle and peaceful and he softly sang a song about Medgar Evers to us. It was a powerful and serene at the same time.” — Mealat Worku
“The most memorable part of the trip was meeting Hollis Watkins and hearing his story at Tougaloo College, a historic HBCU in Mississippi. It was heart-felt listening about his struggles, and the struggles of other Civil Rights workers across Mississippi, worked despite the threat of being jailed. I was very emotional hearing about how he and 13 other Civil Rights workers were stuffed into a 6 x 6 solitary cell in Holmes County. They didn’t have space to move and were forced to defecate on themselves at certain points of the detention.” — Joel Makori
“When we visited the Medgar Evers house, I saw the bullet hole from the high powered rifle. There was something about the killer using a weapon that could kill a rhino that really got to me. It’s even more shocking because Medgar Evers was a guy that was willing to give his life for his country during World War II, but when he came home he had to fight again for the right to vote, to drink water from a drinking fountain, and sit at a lunch counter.” — Jack Mageto