FROM MDAH RELEASES — AT&T has made a $250,000 contribution to the Mississippi Department of Archives and History for the 2 Mississippi Museums project. The gift will sponsor the Black Empowerment Gallery in the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum.
“We are excited about the opportunity to support the 2 Mississippi Museums project and honor Judge Reuben Anderson with the naming of the Black Empowerment Gallery,” said Mayo Flynt, president of AT&T Mississippi. “It is a fitting tribute to Judge Anderson, a leader in the Civil Rights Movement, a trailblazer of many firsts in Mississippi, and a living example of this gallery’s story. As we remember the sacrifices of those who worked for racial progress in Mississippi, it is also important to celebrate their hard won achievements and encourage the message of racial reconciliation in each succeeding generation.”
“Tougaloo College is pleased to support the 2 Mississippi Museums project as well as honor one of our distinguished and most celebrated alumni, Judge Reuben Anderson, with the naming of the Black Empowerment Gallery,” said Tougaloo College president Dr. Beverly Hogan. “Judge Anderson has been a quiet warrior for justice and equality since his college days at Tougaloo and as a practicing attorney, and a strong voice to secure funding for the Civil Rights Museum, in particular. The 2 Mississippi Museums project is important to our state socially, culturally and economically. And, this project will offer learning opportunities that will expand the historical and civic knowledge so important to the full preparation of our children as functioning and contributing citizens in a globalized economy; not only our students at Tougaloo College or in Mississippi, but throughout the nation and world. These two museums will be locally situated in Jackson, Mississippi but will have global reach and impact. We thank AT&T for its commitment to a better Mississippi, and the continuous investments it makes to further educational and cultural opportunities for students at Tougaloo College and other institutions of higher education.”
The gallery will highlight James Meredith’s March Against Fear and examine the key events from 1965 through the mid -1970s, including the Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party challenge to the seating of Mississippi’s congressional delegation.
“The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History will provide citizens of Mississippi and our guests with a comprehensive lesson on the trials and triumphs of Mississippians,” said Congressman Bennie Thompson. “In particular, the Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will highlight the achievement of African Americans despite the oppression that was often sanctioned by the state. In that spirit, it is fitting that Justice Reuben Anderson’s historic contributions to this state be formally recognized.”
“The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History are expected to generate over $17 million in annual economic impact but will have an even greater impact on education in Mississippi,” said MDAH board of trustees president Kane Ditto. “Our success is assured thanks to dedicated corporate leaders such as AT&T. We are especially grateful to them for honoring Judge Reuben Anderson, who is not only a hero of the Civil Rights Movement, but also one of the earliest, strongest, and most effective advocates for the 2 Mississippi Museums.”
The Legislature has invested $90 million to date in funds for construction and exhibits for the 2 Mississippi Museums. The Legislature required a dollar-for-dollar match for the exhibits. The Foundation for Mississippi History has raised $15.2 million so far toward the $17 million campaign goal.
Construction of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum began in December 2013. The first phase, including the building exterior and public parking garage, was completed in fall 2015. Phase two, interior construction, is underway and will last 16 months. The museums will open in December 2017 as the centerpiece of the state’s bicentennial celebration.