Poor economy delays Civil Rights museum

“It has great problems, doesn’t it?” observed Leslie McLemore, a member of the now-defunct museum commission.

Last year, more than 1.7 million visits were made to the Martin Luther King Jr. National Historic Site in Atlanta, while Tennessee and Alabama each brought in more than 200,000 people to their civil rights museums. Mississippi’s dream of visitors filling its own museum by 2012, however, has been dashed.

Gov. Haley Barbour chose a 39-member commission that picked a site for the museum in March 2008 and was then disbanded. Barbour has appointed no board of directors since.

“There have been a number of meetings Gov. Barbour and his staff have participated in the past few months,” said Barbour’s deputy press secretary, Laura Hipp. “He continues to work with all parties to make the museum a reality.”

The delay is caused by the poor economy, said Reuben Anderson, who had co-chaired the commission.