Below is a press release from the Mississippi Department of Archives and History:
On October 20, 2021, architectural historian Judith Johnson presented “Civil Rights Sites of the Mississippi Delta" as part of the History Is Lunch series.
In 2021 the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA) and the Mississippi Department of Archives and History undertook a survey of civil rights resources in the Mississippi Delta. The project looked at sites that were associated with the work being done by Black Mississippians as they asserted their rights as U.S. citizens, particularly in the areas of voter registration, public education, and public accommodations. Johnson served as the project consultant and documented more than 200 extant sites in 18 counties.
“The all-Black town of Mound Bayou was founded in 1887 by formerly enslaved Isaiah T. Montgomery and Benjamin T. Green,” said Johnson. “One significant site surveyed there was the house built by Montgomery’s daughter Mary Booze and later owned by the legendary activist Dr. T.R.M. Howard.”
“Last month the National Park Service announced the availability of more than $16 million for African American and Civil Rights Preservation and History grants,” said MDNHA executive director Rolando Herts. “With the documentation from this survey, we are confident these often-endangered historic resources will have a path forward for assessment, restoration, and reuse.”
Judith Johnson is the former executive director of Memphis Heritage, Inc. She served as historic preservation analyst for the City of Memphis Division of Housing and Community Development and coordinated the City of Memphis’ cultural resources survey. Johnson is the former director of the City of Albany Division of Neighborhood Revitalization and worked as an architectural historian with the Idaho Transportation Department. She earned a BA in art history from Memphis State University. Johnson holds a Tennessee real estate broker license and spent five years developing affordable housing for the City of Memphis.
History Is Lunch is sponsored by the John and Lucy Shackelford Charitable Fund of the Community Foundation for Mississippi. The weekly lecture series of the Mississippi Department of Archives and History explores different aspects of the state's past. The hour-long programs are held in the Craig H. Neilsen Auditorium of the Museum of Mississippi History and Mississippi Civil Rights Museum building at 222 North Street in Jackson.