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Mississippi Freedom Trail Program to Unveil 23rd Marker Oct. 5 in Jackson

Jackson, Mississippi — Oct. 4, 2016 — Governor Phil Bryant will honor the Council of Federated Organizations headquarters with a Mississippi Freedom Trail marker unveiling at 10 a.m. on Wednesday, October 5. The COFO Central Offices are located at 1017 John R. Lynch St., Jackson, Mississippi.

“The COFO Central Offices served as the nerve center for Mississippi’s civil rights movement, supporting critical events such as the Freedom Rides,” Governor Bryant said. “It is an honor to be a part of this Freedom Trail marker unveiling to commemorate many of those who worked at COFO, and as we honor the important role the organization played in providing equal rights to all the people of Mississippi.”

COFO was the brainchild of Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee Field Secretary Bob Moses and an idea championed by Aaron Henry and Medgar Evers. Moses observed firsthand the challenges faced by activists and saw the need for civil rights solidarity. Meeting with other leaders, he proposed an umbrella organization. Originally an ad hoc group, COFO was formally organized in February 1962.

“The central offices of COFO played a pivotal role in Mississippi’s civil rights movement,” said Visit Mississippi Director Craig Ray. “It helped establish offshoot state chapters of Congress of Racial Equality, NAACP, Southern Christian Leadership Conference and Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. This Freedom Trail Marker helps tell another important chapter in Mississippi’s history.”

The organization’s early focus was to support the Freedom Rides. In 1963, COFO organized the Freedom Vote campaign – a statewide mock election in which 80,000 African Americans cast their votes for Mississippi Freedom Democratic Party running mates Aaron Henry and the Rev. Ed King. COFO also created the 1964 Mississippi Summer Project – better known as Freedom Summer – during which more than 1,000 volunteers from across America convened in a broad voter registration campaign, attracting international attention to the civil rights movement.

The Mississippi Freedom Trail was launched in 2011. The trail commemorates the people, places and events of the civil rights movement. For more information, contact Visit Mississippi’s Tourism Development Bureau Manager Mary Margaret Miller at mmmiller@mississippi.org or 601-359-5750, or visit www.visitmississippi.org