National Park Service Awards $550,000 for Tallahatchie Co. Courthouse & Adams Co. Projects

WASHINGTON, D.C. – U.S. Senators Thad Cochran (R-Miss.) and Roger Wicker (R-Miss.) today announced that projects to preserve and highlight the Civil Rights Movement in two Mississippi counties will receive $550,000 in federal grant money.

The National Park Service has awarded $500,000 to the Emmett Till Memorial Commission of Tallahatchie County in Sumner to restore the first floor of the Tallahatchie County Courthouse and $50,000 to the Historic Natchez Foundation to research and preserve the civil rights history in Natchez and Adams County.

“More than 50 years have passed since the Civil Rights Movement gained significant momentum in Mississippi and across the country. The passage of time makes preserving these sites and their stories important,” Cochran said. “These grants can help future generations of Mississippians understand and interpret the sites and histories that propelled the fight for justice and equal rights. I look forward to Tallahatchie and Adams counties using these funds to support local and state work to tell their civil rights histories.”

“I am pleased the National Park Service recognizes the importance of funding these restoration projects,” Wicker said. “The events that took place at the Tallahatchie County Courthouse some 50 years ago played an important role during one of the most significant movements in our nation’s history. Additionally, the funds directed to the Historic Natchez Foundation will help to preserve Mississippi’s past for future generations.”

The $500,000 preservation grant for the Tallahatchie County Courthouse will support installation of interactive digital displays and exhibit systems to tell the story of the Emmett Till murder and trial, which helped spur the Civil Rights Movement. The courthouse will remain in use as the second district Tallahatchie County Courthouse as renovation is carried out on the first floor.

The $50,000 history grant will allow the Historic Natchez Foundation to research, interpret, and preserve civil rights history in Natchez and Adams County.

As chairman of the Senate Appropriations Committee, Cochran was instrumental in securing $8 million in FY2016 for the National Park Service Historic Preservation Fund to document, interpret, and preserve sites and stories associated with the Civil Rights Movement. This funding permitted the National Park Service to award $7.5 million in grants for 39 projects in 20 states and the District of Columbia.

A 2008 study, Civil Rights in America: A Framework for Identifying Significant Sites, served as reference in determining these National Park Service grants.

In 2007, Cochran secured a $686,000 appropriation to support the restoration of the Tallahatchie County Courthouse to its condition during the Emmett Till trials