Clarksdale, Mississippi celebrates its role in the Civil Rights Movement with new map

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CLARKSDALE, Miss. — Black History Month may be coming to a close, but tourism officials in Clarksdale, Mississippi want their community’s role in the Civil Rights Movement to stay front and center all year long.

There’s no denying Clarksdale and Coahoma County are famous for the soulful sounds of the Blues, but historians say contributions made to the Civil Rights Movement here should also strike an important chord.

“We are more than just the Blues, although the Blues are wonderful,” said historian Brenda Luckett. “But we have a rich history in civil rights, and we wanted to highlight that.”

With that in mind, tourism officials unveiled the African American Heritage Map Friday, listing more than a dozen sites which played key roles during the Civil Rights Movement in the Mississippi Delta community.

The map includes locations visited by Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., and the site where NAACP leader Arron Henry conducted voter registration drives and organized boycotts. Researchers for the map talked to civil rights activists who are still alive, as well as looking at newspaper clippings and different books written about the era.

They hope the map will provide more insight on how Clarksdale and Coahoma County were woven into the fabric of a movement as important today as it was in the 1960’s.

“And so, we just want to bring that to the forefront,” said Visit Clarksdale Executive Director Bubba O’Keefe, “not only to the world but to our community. Because we need to know more about ourselves so we can share it with the world.”

The map is available at the Visit Clarksdale office on Edwards Street. The map will also be available next week online at visitclarksdale.com

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