Civil rights leader honored with historic marker in Hattiesburg

Pine Belt News

HATTIESBURG, Miss. (WHLT) – A historic marker was unveiled on Sunday in Hattiesburg for a civil rights leader Reverend William D Ridgeway.

The Reverend is known as one of the most influential civil rights leaders to emerge in Mississippi in the 1950s. 

Rev. Ridgeway was the only African American from Mississippi to travel to Washington D.C. to testify before the senate subcommittee on constitutional rights on voting violations in Mississippi. His testimony along with others lead to the passage of the civil rights act of 1957.

“This is the historic mobile street area a lot of marches and freedom writers gathered right here on this street. Rev. Ridgeway stood right here at the wood hotel during 1964 and there’s a photo of Rev. Ridgeway with some of the freedom righters, so I think this is the district where we need to highlight our history because so much took place. I marched these streets as a child, and so that’s what we want too. Since this is going to be the museum district we want people to know the true story,” said local attorney Glenda Funches.

Reverend Ridgeway was also the pastor of Freedom School. Family and church members traveled for the unveiling.  They say they learned more about their relative and pastor at this ceremony than they already knew. 

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