Tougaloo Nine Receive Keys to the City of Jackson, Mississippi

Forty-five years ago in 1961, in a carefully organized protest orchestrated by Medgar Evers, nine black students from Tougaloo College in Mississippi entered the public library reserved for blacks in Jackson, Mississippi, seeking leisure reading works that they knew were not included in the library’s collection for African Americans.

Evers’ group then proceeded to the library in the city reserved for whites, where they knew the books were housed. The police were called and the students were arrested and charged with breach of the peace. They were held for 32 hours, fined $100 each, and given 30-day suspended sentences. It was the first major act of civil disobedience by black protesters in the Mississippi capital. Lunch counter sit-ins and voter registration drives soon began in the city. Medgar Evers was assassinated in 1963.

Late last month, the city of Jackson presented the Tougaloo Nine with keys to the city at a banquet for alumni held on the Tougaloo campus.