We got married in a fever, hotter than a pepper sprout,
We’ve been talkin’ ’bout Jackson, ever since the fire went out.
I’m goin’ to Jackson, I’m gonna mess around,
Yeah, I’m goin’ to Jackson,
Look out Jackson town.
My visit to Jackson was quite a unique one at that. It was supposed to be a pit stop, between New Orleans and Memphis, a place to relax, recharge the old body battery and get a full wash done. When I arrived on Monday night, feck all was open downtown, so I got the bus to the edge of town, popped in this Irish Pub I had looked up, for some scran and probably one too many beers. About 9pm I walked the 0.8 miles to my Motel, which had me walking over two bridges over the interstate, neither of which had any form of walking lane and right at the side on the motorway was discarded needles – It’s gonna be that sort of place then.
I get checked in and my gaff has an upstairs bedroom and toilet and downstairs master bedroom (En Suite), lounge and kitchen. It’s a massive place and as you have probably seen from a previous post, not exactly what was advertised. I do a wash and I’m chatting to this boy Jim, he’s interesting. I tell him my story and where I work and we talk about energy. He was telling me about Corn Fuel and working in Alaska, with radiation, we hit it off. He’s a bit of a charmer, backed up when his current wife swings by and tells me so. The local chaps are trying to put up a new basketball ring, with no joy. Jim’s daughter pops buy and he heads off, she sits so we chat and she’s getting a bit of the ole Scottish patter. I will not go into great detail, but I was almost booking a second train ticket to Memphis.
To go to any shops, food outlet or to get downtown, you have to either drive or use an uber type thing. Jackson is an interesting place, with very little shops or outlets in the centre of town. You need to go to Galleria’s or Mall’s 20-30 miles away to get all that stuff. In Jackson itself however, there is tons to do. I’m out the gaff Thursday by 11am and my train is not until 6pm, I’m hot footing it from one attraction to another. I get the bus up to the Old State Capitol Building and work my way back down. It’s been the State Capitol for Mississippi since 1903 and was once the USA Capitol. It’s a working building, but I give the once around a miss. Round back is more interesting, one of 49 Caboose’s given to the USA by France when they gave them relief after the second World War. It’s down by the GM&O Depot and is called the “Merci Train,” a wooden train car given to the state of Mississippi by France after World War II. Even tho one was given for each state, unfortunately, most have disappeared over time and although this boxcar still exists, it’s a little beaten up due to it’s exposure to the elements. It’s a lot more interesting to me as a I pop by and take in the War Memorial also.
The main attractions for the day is the Two Museums – The Mississippi Civil Rights Museum and the Museum of Mississippi History, housed in a brand spanking new building and as I found out, only opened in December 2017. They knew I was gonna be passing through Sugar. I fleet thru security and hit the counter. As I scratch for my wallet, the lass says it’s my lucky day. Their sponsor Entergy (another Energy Co, jings) has sponsored 100 free tickets for today and guess what, Wardez in number 100 baby, hence why it said Special guest on da ticket. I will not go into any detail about the Civil Rights Museum. I’ve been to quite a few in my time here and while everyone is unique and fascinating, they all tell very similar, shocking, oppressed and corrupt stories from the time and how dark those days were. Lots of videos to help tell the story and make it personal to you the human being. There are sensors that go off when you walk under that say things like “Get to the back of the bus”, “You cant go in there, round the back”, a sort of shock and Awe about the segregation at the time. No photo’s were allowed, but What I will say is, if you have any interest in this sort of thing, look up the story about the lynching of Emmett Till. It’s on Wikipedia and easy to find. I firmly believe you will share the same amount of anger as me when you not only hear/read the outcome, but what the shop owners wife said afterwards.
Trump was one of the first to tour these both by the way.
My main posting will be about the Museum of Mississippi History and this was a real doozy and a must see for anyone, interested in history, albeit American Civil War history, but real life artefacts from the time and how people lived. It starts off talking about the Choctaw and Chickasaw Nations and how they lived in 13000 BC through to 1518 and example of which has a 500yo dug out canoe, which reminds me of a Billy Connelly, Scotsman, Englishman and Irishman joke – Ask me next time you see me. From then to about 1800, many explorers like Hernando De Soto and other European explorers flooded the area, bringing African Slaves and gradually forced the Choctaw Nation off their Ancestral homeland. Come 1840, Cotton is King and the number of black slaves working in the fields and houses for the Plantation owners, outnumber the white’s and from there the struggle ensues. Mississippi goes through a period of regression and Freedom, then we have WWI, the Great Depression (bet your thinking it must have been from reading this?) and then from then to the current day – Civil Rights, Diversification and Innovation, Jackson prosper baby!
There are some doozy things like a kilt, a house outfitted with the technological marvels of the 1980s, including an etcha sketch and viewer. Proper Duelling Pistols, a Knife Jim Bowie used to stab someone. Printing presses at the time and Civil War stuffs. They had a funky music area with a Wurlitzer, singles and memorabilia from olde time Jazz and Blues and a recording both, where the Big Man recorded his own message. I owned it!! Joking aside, It’s starts with an interactive information wall where you choose an object and it elaborates further. You then get a 10 minute video about the place. i spent ages there and as a result, missed having a wander round the blues trail, bar one sign. Who can turn down going for something to eat before yet another overnight train ride @ a place called Fat Albert’s – That’s the Joy!
It’s funny, i was reading this magazine in the Amtrack station about what’s going on in Jackson over the next few days, including a Truckfest BBQ with Live Music and an open air cinema, both which I never found anything on when researching my visit. Frustrating, but makes me more determined to go to tourist offices and the right places to get ‘what’s on’ local info as soon as I arrive somewhere.