Tucked away in the University Park Neighborhood of West Jackson is a church whose steeple has seen the actions and whose walls have heard the plans of Mississippi’s Civil Rights Movement. This church, located at 1057 W. Pascagoula Street, is none other than Pratt Memorial United Methodist Church.
Pratt Memorial was founded on July 9, 1897 and was led by the ministry of Reverend Henry Henderson. In the 1960s, the Civil Rights Movement was well underway in Mississippi, and in the era of Jim Crow laws, churches were often used as venues to meet and discuss plans for acquiring equal rights. Pratt Memorial served as one of those meeting spots.
The church also offered its space during the Civil Rights Movement to the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) for the operation of a Freedom School. Freedom Schools were created as summer schools to teach African American teenagers about African American history, the United States Constitution, the Civil Rights Movement and to supplement the general courses the students took during the regular school year. While the schools were intended for teenagers, younger children were not shy about dropping by and the instructor were sure to teach them as well. The school also held adult classes three nights a week at Pratt Memorial.
Over a century after it’s establishment, Pratt Memorial United Methodist Church is still located right here in West Jackson. The church is currently pastored by Reverend Brenda McCaskill and offers church services on Sundays at 11 a.m.
That’s it for this week’s edition of WESTerday Trivia. Thanks for playing! We’ll seeeeeee you next week!
Howard Zinn on History by Howard Zinn
African Americans of Jackson by Turry Flucker and Phoenix Savage