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Appreciating the Present

“But courage was growing in me too. Little by little it was getting harder and harder for me not to speak out.” 

Anne Moody

Wilkinson County, MS native

In 2020...

Mississippi ranks as the state with the highest percentage of African Americans in America at a whopping 37.3% according to the 2010 census. It continues to top the list by 5 percent ahead of every other Southern state — that’s a big number in this context. 


Jackson, MS, the capital, ranks as the city with the largest population of African Americans in America at a staggering 80.1% according to the 2010 census. Furthermore, it has become more African American over the course of the decade.

It's safe to say that the population of Mississippi today looks dramatically different from the people 100 or 200 years ago. However, these aren't the only additions to Mississippi worth noting. Even since 1931, Mississippi has made significant progress and has many notable people to show for it such as...

Hiram Rhodes Revels
1st Black American Congressman

His Legacy >

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In 1870, Hiram Rhodes Revels was chosen by the Republican-dominated Mississippi state legislature to fill the unexpired U.S. Senate seat of Jefferson Davis.

His Legacy >


In 1954, Medgar Evers became the NAACP's first field secretary for Mississippi and began organizing voter registration, educational equity, the creation of NAACP Youth Councils, and investigations of racist murders. Thanks to Medgar Evers and other activists, the groundwork was laid for Mississippi freedom and voting reform.

Medgar Wiley Evers
African American Civil Rights Activist
James D. 
World-Renowned American Surgeon

His Legacy >


On June 11, 1963, Dr. James D. Hardy performed the world’s first successful lung transplant at the University of Mississippi Medical Center by taking the heart of a chimpanzee and transplanting it to a man dying of heart disease, who lived for eighteen days.

Fannie Lou Hamer
American Political Leader

Her Legacy >


Fannie Lou Hamer founded the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party in opposition to her state’s all-white delegation to the 1964 Democratic Convention.

American Blues Musican

His Legacy >


Famed as the King of the Blues, B.B. King was instrumental in shaping the musical genre of the Blues. Through his composition style of solos paired with fluid string vibrato, he influenced many electric blues guitarists after him.

American Author and Novelist

Her Legacy >


Eudora Welty was an American short story writer and novelist who wrote about the American South through notable works such as The Robber Bridegroom and A "Curtain of Green."


His Legacy >


Famed as the King of Rock and Roll, Elvis Presley is regarded as one of the most momentous cultural icons of the 20th century.

American Puppeteer

His Legacy >


Known for creating the Muppets, Jim Henson taught the world how to find their own Rainbow Connection. He believed that television and film could be used as “an influence for good." He used this influence to inspire people to understand the balances of life in their lives.

Native American Choctaw Chief

His Legacy >


Prior to its removal in 1830, Greenwood Leflore was elected Principal Chief of the Choctaw territory. Being biracial and wealthy with regional influence, LeFlore had many ties with state and federal government. In 1830, he led other chiefs to sign the Treaty of Dancing Rabbit Creek. It was said that the Choctaws who chose to stay in Mississippi would have reserved lands, but the United States government failed to follow through on this provision.

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