Newell Chapel CME

Trail Marker

1400 13th Avenue, Meridian, MS

Newell Chapel CME was among the African-American churches in Meridian whose members became active in the Civil Rights movement. Numerous meetings were held at the church. Members participated in voter registration campaigns and were involved in efforts to desegregate area businesses.

Newell Chapel also became involved in education. The church was one of three original locations of the Head Start program in Meridian in 1966. This program was funded as part of President Lyndon Johnson’s Great Society initiative and was operated by Mississippi Action for Progress (MAP). Its purpose was to provide educational opportunities to underprivileged preschool children.

Because the public school system refused to provide space for the Head Start program, churches were the next logical choice. They were the only facilities that could meet Head Start’s space requirements and provide a fenced playground. Newell Chapel’s participation in Head Start made it a Ku Klux Klan target. On February 23, 1968, the church parsonage was burned by a gasoline bomb.

Directions to next marker (St. Joseph Catholic Church): Continue down 13th Avenue to 16th Street; turn left on 16th Street and continue to 18th Avenue; turn right on 18th Avenue; continue to 1914 18th Avenue; marker located on left side of driveway.

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