Civil rights advocates started pushing more than a decade ago for a place to tell the story of struggles for voting rights, integration and equal treatment under the law. In 2011, then-Gov. Haley Barbour, a Republican, got on board and said Mississippi should build a stand-alone museum about the civil rights movement.
A groundbreaking ceremony for the two museums was held in late 2013 and attracted more than 500 people, including Myrlie Evers-Williams. She is the widow of Mississippi NAACP leader Medgar Evers, who was assassinated in 1963.
The Legislature has approved $90 million in state funding, and private donors have given $17 million.