by Jarquita Brown
Higher Purpose Co (HPC) Chief Executive Officer Tim Lampkin announced a historic partnership to house the North Mississippi Civil Rights Museum (NMCRM) at Higher Purpose HQ in Clarkdale.
“We started on a journey about a year ago to really think about how we could be not just involved in our community, but impactful from a historical standpoint and what will our legacy be. Today, we are excited to announce that the North Mississippi Civil Rights Museum will be housed here at the Higher Purpose Hub,” Lampkin said.
The announcement was made Wednesday, Sept. 8 at the hub located in Downtown Clarksdale on the corner of Issaquena and Third Street. Community members and city, county, and state leaders gathered for this historic announcement.
Clarksdale Mayor Chuck Espy, Director of Delta Center of Cultural Learning of the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area (MDNHA), Dr. Rolando Herts, President of the Clarksdale/Coahoma County Chapter of the NAACP, Dr. Jimmy Wiley, and Clarksdale educator and historian, Brenda Luckett, all expressed their excitement about the partnership.
Espy said, “This partnership is not only one of the great pillars that will continue to help Clarksdale grow, it will also teach. It will be one of those teachable moments, and it is not only incumbent among us to embrace our people when they are moving in the state of Mississippi. It is incumbent on having the right leaders at the table.”
The purpose of the NMCRM is to preserve, uplift, and tell the story of the culture and history of Clarksdale and the Mississippi Delta during the Civil Rights Movement. Lampkin said $50,000 has been contributed to the project, and HPC has donated a significant amount of space inside the hub and has established the museum website.
Higher Purpose Co. Director of Branding, Storytelling, and Advocacy, Ivory Cancer, created a beautiful window exhibit dedicated to civil rights leaders Dr. Aaron E. Henry and Dr. Vera Mae Pigee from Clarksdale.
“I often aspire to create positive change that makes my ancestors proud, activates the present, and lights a path for the future. So to be able to do just that, alongside martyrs like Ms. Luckett and Dr. Wiley is nothing short of my dreams continuing to become reality. Their experiences, stories, and willingness to share have been key in our partnership and collective goal of continued social justice in Mississippi,” said Cancer.
Luckett added, “Civil Rights has been a part of my life, all of my life, and I went around the corner to take a picture of the window, and it was like a reflection that reverberated in my heart because that’s my life,” Luckett said.
The project began with a $5,000 grant from the Regional Engagement and Advancement Partnership (REAP), a fund that provides a process for the Mississippi Delta National Heritage Area to support projects that communicate the MDNHA’s mission, cultural heritage themes, and or goals to various audiences.
Dr. Herts said, “It is phenomenal that a small investment that we made in this project with our Regional Engagement and Advancement Partnership Fund of $5,000 has turned into this, and it is just phenomenal that this is happening and that we are a part of it and are able to bring these communities together.”
The museum will have many exhibits showcasing the legacy and work of many civil rights leaders from Mississippi. Lampkin said, “We are really excited that the museum will have so many different exhibits once it’s finally opened. We announced this partnership because we believe that we have to continue to uplift the historic culture here in Clarksdale, Coahoma County, and throughout the Delta.”
Dr. Wiley said, “When I think about the Civil Rights Movement here in Mississippi, and I think about Aaron Henry and Vera Mae Pigee, I don’t know anybody else that stands head and shoulders above them. I don’t think you can even discuss civil rights in Mississippi without mentioning their name, and if we let this go undone, we have done an injustice to ourselves.”
Luckett said, “When Dr. Wiley came up with the concept of a civil rights museum, I knew I had to be a part of it, and I am just so happy that he has allowed me to take this journey with him because I know how much it means to him to bring this to fruition.”
Lampkin said, “The civil rights history is critical to our heritage here in the Mississippi Delta, so we are really excited about this collaboration and partnership.”
Luckett thanked everyone for supporting the project and mentioned if anyone has anything dating back to the civil rights movement to reach out.
“We need anything that you have dated back during that time because we would like to exhibit that here at the museum. This is an opportunity for us, and I see the history and, I see the connection. It’s been so great to connect the past with the present and the future, so I thank you all, and I thank Higher Purpose for taking us under your wing and guiding us and leading us, and showing us the way that we are to go.”
To learn more about NMCRM and how you can be involved, sign up for updates at NMCRM.org.