from Daily Mississippian by Mallory Simerville
Mississippi is making an effort to heal racial transgressions of the past by constructing a museum to celebrate African-American history and culture.
Charles Ross, director of African-American studies at the University of Mississippi, said he supports the idea of a museum being built.
“The fact that (Mississippi) does not have a museum that recognizes the struggle is a real void that is long overdue, and hopefully is something that will take place rather quickly,” Ross said.
The Mississippi Legislature is currently in the process of authorizing House Bill 79, which will develop a Mississippi Civil Rights Museum fund.
The bill would help to build the state’s first museum dedicated to African-American history. The location is still undecided, but is tentatively set for Jackson.
The bill is still active, due to a later deadline for budget and revenue bills.
Although Oxford does not have a civil rights museum, the University is amid celebrating Black History Month.
“You know it’s called black history, but I think one of the descriptions that I believe is more accurate is American history,” Ross said. “It’s something we should be cognitive of 365 days of the year, but of course, in February we have set aside this particular month to focus a little bit more on those accomplishments, achievements and individuals.”
President of the Louis Stokes Alliances for Minority Participation (LSAMP) and Increasing Minority Access to Graduate Education (IMAGE) for undergraduate, Latoya Anderson said she felt like the University has come a long way.
The program offers tutoring and conferences to help undergraduate minorities make the transition to graduate school.
Anderson said minorities majoring in science, technology, engineering and math are underrepresented in these areas.
“This program is here to help you concentrate on your studies so that we can ensure that you get into graduate schools in your field,” Anderson said, “Without the IMAGE program, a lot of minorities would have a harder time making it on this campus.”
To celebrate Black History Month, the University has planned a series of events, which started with guest speaker Markeeva Morgan, an alumnus of the University, and was followed by a performance by the University of Mississippi Gospel Choir.
Several events are being hosted on campus throughout the entire month including several events hosted by Sigma Gamma Rho Sorority, Delta Sigma Theta, and National Society of Black Engineers.
The University Museum will feature an exhibit titled Civil Rights Struggle: African-American GIs in Germany.
“We now have grown from one student to the student population almost being as high as 15 percent.” Ross said. “I think the University has come a long way since 1962.”