The death of 14-year-old Emmett Till outside a grocery store in the Delta town of Money ignited a spark in the hearts of Americans—a spark that launched the civil rights movement. But Till’s life was not the last one lost during some of the most troubling times in Mississippi’s history. In helping to lead the fight for racial equality, activist Medgar Evers was assassinated outside his Jackson home in 1963, and three civil rights workers were killed in Neshoba County the next year. Their deaths were not in vain—many more Mississippians rose up and stepped forward for the cause.
Those who stood up for change and those whose blood was shed during the battle are now commemorated with markers on the Mississippi Freedom Trail. Markers also reveal the spots where Martin Luther King Jr. visited during his travels to the state, along with the campus passage that James Meredith walked to integrate the University of Mississippi. These are the routes once taken by courageous souls who stood up to the status quo, and it’s impossible not to be humbled as you follow in their footsteps.