Teaching Civil Rights History in Mississippi

Emmett Till Murder Trial Historical Marker in Sumner, Mississippi

Signed into law in 2006, Mississippi Senate Bill 2718 mandates the teaching of civil and human rights history in all Mississippi K-12 classrooms.

The new curriculum, which is currently being developed by the Mississippi Department of Education and the Mississippi Civil Rights Education Commission, will incorporate a more accurate and inclusive history of the civil rights movement and its effect on the history of the state. It will emphasize the local, grassroots character of civil rights efforts in Mississippi, the role of women and children in activism, the institutional nature of racism, and the influence of that struggle on other movements for human rights.

The new curriculum will also incorporate local stories within a larger civil rights framework, allowing geographically specific incidents to be incorporated into local school curricula. For example, in Tallahatchie County, a portion of the studies will focus on the murder of Emmett Till, which occurred there in 1955 and was a catalyst for the modern civil rights movement.