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House Approves Money and Location for Civil Rights Museum

By Jeffrey Hess | Published 16 Feb 2011 01:25pm | comments
The commitee debates funding a Civil Rights Museum.

Downtown Jackson could be the new home of a Mississippi Civil Right Museum. MPB's Jeffrey Hess reports on the first of many votes about the future of the museum.

Since the publication of this story, the Mississippi House has approved a proposal to build a civil rights museum and a history museum in downtown Jackson.
Wednesday's vote was 104-16. The proposal now moves to the Senate, where Finance Committee Chairman Dean Kirby says it will "definitely" be considered.

The House Ways and Means Committee approved a bill on Wednesday that would issue 55-million dollars in state bonds to build a Civil Rights Museum, a Mississippi history Museum, and a parking garage. All near the Museum of Archives and History in downtown Jackson.

Representative Willie Perkins of Greenwood argued for putting the museum at Tougaloo College, which was the original location discussed when plans started several years ago.

"When you follow the process, Tougaloo College site should have gotten the blessing of this Ways and Means Committee," Perkins said.

Perkins says this is only round one, and plans to continue to push for the museum to be at Tougaloo.

Representative Earl Banks of Jackson says the Museum should be in downtown Jackson because it is more centrally located and makes more economic sense.

"It should be here where it is on state property. Where the state of Mississippi we are dedicating our own property. The land and facilities right here for it. Not at any private location. But a public building on public property," Banks said.

HT Holmes, the director of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History, says there are financial benefits to having all of the buildings in one location.

"The site next to the Archives and History building offers some significant possibilities for cost savings by allowing the two different museums to share some facilities," Holmes said.

Holmes says they have been looking for options for the open land next to the Museum of Archives and History for years, and thinks they have plenty of space for the two new museums.

The bill now moves to the full house. Even if the money is approved, it could be seven years or more before the museum is complete.


The commitee debates funding a Civil Rights Museum.



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