Celebrate Black History Month in Hattiesburg. A premier cultural destination in the Gulf South, the Hub City is chock full of history and heritage attractions honoring African-American culture.
BLACK HISTORY AND HERITAGE ATTRACTIONS
FREEDOM SUMMER TRAIL
Explore the 1964 Freedom Summer Trail and audio tour on the 60th anniversary of the Freedom Summer movement. The 16-stop, self-guided driving tour begins at True Light Baptist Church, winds through historic downtown, and ends at the University of Southern Mississippi. Freedom Summer played a significant part in the Civil Rights Movement, and Hattiesburg was a “mecca” for activities and voter registration. Each stop has an accompanying audio component that allows you to hear about the Civil Rights Movement through stories told by those who lived it. Visit HBURGFreedomTrail.org for more information. Along the trail, look for important public art markers, like the memorial statues of Vernon Dahmer, large-scale murals and hand-painted utility boxes.
SIXTH STREET MUSEUM DISTRICT
Take a trip to the East 6th Street Museum District! The district honors what once was the city’s historic African American cultural hub and features museums and historical buildings that honor the city’s heritage.
Experience Hattiesburg’s African American Military History Museum! The museum located in the museum district showcases the history and important role of the African-American soldier. The museum features exhibits portraying Buffalo Soldiers, Tuskegee Airmen, and servicemen and women from the greater Hattiesburg area, including the first African American naval aviator Jesse L. Brown, and learn about African Americans’ contributions to the U.S. military from the Revolutionary War through now. The free, family-friendly museum is located in the last remaining USO Club designated for African Americans during World War II. Hear accounts of bravery and history being made when you explore the interactive exhibits, which include an audio tour, photo opportunities, and videos.
Smith Drug Company was once the heart of the Mobile Street commercial district. Smith opened its doors in 1925 and quickly became an all-important soda fountain and drug store for the community and Eureka High School Students. Now, the fully restored building is open on Saturdays as a malt shop and provides an introduction to the city’s African American history and position during the Civil Rights Movement.
Also located in the Sixth Street Museum District is the Historic Eureka School. This school serves as a focal point of history and heritage for African Americans in the Hattiesburg community. When it opened in 1921, it was one of only two brick high schools for African Americans in the state. The Eureka High School was constructed on the site of the first school in Hattiesburg for African Americans – “The red frame school on East 6th Street.” In the 1919-20 school term, a $75,000 bond issue funded the construction of a new building for grades 1 through 12. Check out the Generations Strong Outdoor Exhibit behind the building, which recently revealed the last panels in the series.
Coming soon to the museum district is the Oseola McCarty House Museum, honoring McCarty’s life and legacy. Following her retirement as a washer woman in 1995, Miss Oseola McCarty set up an irrevocable trust worth $150,000 at The University of Southern Mississippi to help worthy but needy students seeking an education. When others learned of her gift, hundreds of people in Mississippi and beyond made donations that more than tripled her original endowment. This museum is still under construction. You may also see a statue of McCarty at Southern Miss, near the center of campus and the Danforth Chapel.
Hattiesburg is proud to support our local Black-owned businesses, and we want you to be too! From independent creators to local business owners changing the game, below are just a few of our favorite Blac-owned businesses in Hattiesburg.
Want to see a full list? Check out our blog featuring all of Hattiesburg's Black-owned businesses.
Connect with the history and inspire creativity at these Black History Month events.
INSPIRING BLACK HATTIESBURGERS
Roosevelt and Uaroy Graves
Jesse Leroy Brown
More inspiring Black Hattiesburgers can be found here.
Don’t fret if you can’t make it to Hattiesburg during Black History Month. These attractions are open year-round, so plan a visit anytime. Head to the Hub City for a weekend getaway or a culture-filled trip, and don’t miss out on these historic stops.
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