Masonic Temple of Jackson

PDFPrintE-mail

Hinds - Hinds - Places

Since 1955, the Masonic Temple has been state headquarters for the M.W. Stringer Grand Lodge, Prince Hall Masonic A &FM and its various affiliates. They have historically supported pride, self-help, and the citizenship rights of all Americans. In 1951, Thurgood Marshall, representing the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, challenged all Masonic leaders to establish and maintain a legal research and education bureau to fight for civil rights. Since then, the Stringer Grand Lodge has contributed annually to the NAACP Legal Defense Fund, Inc. Marshall delivered the inaugural dedication address for the Masonic Temple on May 30, 1955.

The temple's large auditorium was used for numerous civil rights meetings, training sessions in non-violent protest, the funerals of Medgar Evers and Benjamin Brown, and strategy meetings for the NAACP, COFO, and was asked to leave for smoking in the auditorium during an NAACP concert starring Lena Horne and Dick Gregory.

The second and current Mississippi NAACP office is located on the second floor of the temple. Aaron Henry operated from this site for thirty-three years. As field secretary, Medgar Evers managed the NAACP activities in the state from 1954 until his death in 1963. The temple overflowed with mourners for the ninety-minute Evers funeral service. Rev. Charles A. Jones, Dean of Religion at Campbell College, presided, with Roy Wilkins, Executive Secretary for the NAACP, as the major speaker. Dignitaries in attendance included Ralph Bunche, Assistant Secretary General of the United Nations; Rev. Martin Luther King, Jr.; Rev. Ralph Abernathy; and entertainer Dick Gregory.

Sources:

"Civil Rights Driving Tour of Hinds County"produced by the Associated Press, Tougaloo College, the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, and the Mississippi Development Authority (Tourism Division).

Key People

Robert Kochtitzky

Robert B. Kochtitzky, a religious worker and civil rights sympathizer, had his house bombed on N...

Rabbi Perry Nussbaum

Rabbi Nussbaum's home was bombed on November 21, 1967. He and his wife were home at the time but ...

Hazel Palmer

Mrs. Hazel Palmer, and elementary school maid, was an activist for the Freedom Democratic Party....

Associated Spaces/Places

Millsaps College

In the 1950s, students from Millsaps College and Tougaloo College held meetings attended by Medgar E...

University of Mississippi Medical Center

UMMC is where Medgar Evers, Benjamin Brown, Phillip Gibbs, and Earl Green died. Sources: "Civil Ri...

Tougaloo College

Tougaloo College was founded in 1869 by the American Missionary Association on land formerly occupie...

Local Organizations and Institutions

Tougaloo Child Development of Mississippi

Formerly located on this site was a house owned by Mrs. Annie Smith. Mrs. Smith was instrumental...

Mississippi Free Press

The Mississippi Free Press, a four-page social and civil rights weekly newspaper, was written by ...

Medgar Evers Neighborhood Guild Community Center

In a structure developed by R.L.T. Smith, the Medgar Evers Neighborhood Guild Community Center w...

Key Movement Events

Bus Sit-In of 1961

At Lamar and Capitol Streets on April 20, 1961, three Jackson State students, George Washington, ...

Lynch Street Shooting

On May 14, 1970, a protest among Jackson State students erupted on Lynch Street. Just ten days b...

Freedom Rides

Date of Event: May-November 1961 The Freedom Rides began in Washington DC on May 4, 1961, with thir...

Oral Histories/Audio Interviews

Oral History: Albert Gordon

Born in Belgium, Albert Gordon moved to the United States at age seven and considers himself an American. At twenty-seven years old, he participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961.

Oral History: Bernard Lafayette

Bernard Lafayette participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961.

Oral History: Charles Person

Charles Person participated in the Freedom Rides in 1961.