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Video: Tupelo Unveils New Historical Marker

TUPELO, Miss. (WCBI) — Some dignitaries gathered on a street corner in downtown Tupelo Saturday morning to unveil the Convention and Business Bureau’s latest historical marker.

The unveiling of the March of Discontent marker at corner of Franklin and Spring Streets became the 9th marker on the Tupelo Convention and Visitors Bureau Heritage Trails Enrichment program.

Neal McCoy is Executive Director of the CVB.

“The cultural and heritage tourism is a growing nitch market and so people are getting out and wanting to know more about their communities and the communities that surround this region,” McCoy said. “And so this is our way to give tourists another reason to come to Tupelo.”

Tupelo Mayor Jason Shelton agrees.

“It’s important as a city as a community that we remember who we are as a people as we go forward it’s always important to know where we came from,” Shelton said.

While Tupelo is known as a the birthplace of Elvis Presley, there was also another historical event that took place on the corner in 1964 during he height of the Civil Rights movement.

Attorney Kenneth Mayfield owns the building where history was made.

“There was a march of discontentment among the African American community,” he said.  “And they marched from up in the African American community and here right around this intersection where there was a police barricade. And they were stopped and there was a protest here and eventually of course they were turned back to the community,” Mayfield notes.

To commemorate the protest, there was a parade of former students of the old Carver High School who are having reunion this weekend.

Nettie Davis just completed her term as the first minority and the first woman to serve as City Council President. She remembers that day in 1964.

“There was a lot of sort of young men who participated in this. And they marched all the down to Spring Street and rocks were thrown and knocked the windows out of the RC Cola plant, she recounts. “People had got really dissatisfied and they wanted to make a statement some kind of way so they had a march down here but they were turned around by the police,” Davis said.

McCoy says additional markers on the Civil Rights and African-American Trail as well as the  Civil War trail are planned for the remainder of 2014.