Evers-Williams, Myrlie

On February 18, 1995, Mrs. Myrlie Evers-Williams was elected to the position of Chairman of the National Board of Directors of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), the first woman to lead the nation’s oldest civil rights organization as a fulltime volunteer.   With the support of a strong member base of […]

First Baptist M.B. Church

Freedmen in Port Gibson founded this church in 1876. It was moved to the site that it rests on today in 1986. The church served an essential role in the Civil Rights Movement in Port Gibson. Starting in 1965, the NAACP held meetings at the church to encourage boycotts of local white merchants. The suffering […]

Lightfoot, Horace L.

Horace Lightfoot lived from 1927 to 1976. He was a tradesman, businessman, and public servant. He was a native of neighboring Claiborne County. He received his education at local schools and Alcorn A&M College. In 1960, he became the first black citizen elected to the Claiborne County Board of Education. He also successfully ran his […]

Phelps, Marcena A.

Marcena A. Phelps participated in the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi from 1960-1967. She was a member of the NAACP and SCLC. She helped register people to vote and assisted the freedom riders. When local churches used for meetings were threatened, Phelps’s home was used to hold NAACP meetings. She attended the National Democratic Convention […]

Russell, Irwin

Author of “Christman Night in the Quarters”and other poems, Irwin Russell won fame with his poems in the Negro dialect despite living for only twenty-six years. A memorial located on 1055 College in Port Gibson was constructed for Russell in 1842. The memorial sits on land once owned by Port Gibson’s founder, Samuel Gibson. currently, […]

Shirley, Dr. Ollye

Dr. Ollye Shirley was an accomplished leader in public television, children’s programming and advocacy, civil rights activism, public education, community service, and more. She and her late husband, Dr. Aaron Shirley, were paragons of civil rights in Mississippi. (Photo: Dr. Shirley is in the center.)

Vicksburg and Port Gibson

During Reconstruction, federal troops served as occupation forces in Mississippi until 1877. During this period of time, many blacks ventured into Vicksburg to take advantage of their new freedom. Many joined the Union Army and others started their own businesses. Some even sought employment to help rebuild the parts of Vicksburg that were heavily damaged […]