Freedom School

Trail Marker

Intersection of 16th Street & Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Drive/31st Avenue, Meridian, MS

In the summer of 1964, dozens of Freedom Schools opened across Mississippi. They were part of the Freedom Summer project, in which hundreds of volunteers, mainly college students, from across the country came to Mississippi to help register voters and improve education for the African-American community. Freedom Schools taught citizenship, Black history, constitutional rights, political process, foreign languages, and basic academics.

Meridian’s Freedom School was housed in Meridian Baptist Seminary. It was the largest Freedom School in the state and served as the host of the statewide Freedom School Convention. In addition to academics, Meridian’s Freedom School also offered recreation, movies, and a lending library.

Meridian Baptist Seminary was founded in 1896 and initially held classes at New Hope Baptist Church. It moved to a new building in 1905 and to a larger structure at the same location in 1921. The seminary offered a traditional high school curriculum for Black students as well as college preparatory and vocational classes. It was the first school in Mississippi to offer a high school diploma to African-Americans. The seminary closed in 1972, and it was destroyed by fire in 2007.

Directions to next marker (Council of Organizations): Continue down Martin Luther King, Jr., Memorial Drive/31st Avenue to 16th Street; turn left on 16th Street and continue to 35th Avenue; turn left on 35th Avenue and continue to 8th Street; turn right on 8th Street and continue to 45th Avenue; turn right. The Council of Organizations is located on the right.

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