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5 Fun Facts About April 16 In Mississippi History

---Learn Every Day: MS Today In History Facts Texted Each Day - Text: history ms To: 618-270-4005---

1. On April 16, 1944, the United States Army Air Forces (USAAF) conducted a training exercise near Starkville, Mississippi. During the exercise, two B-24 bombers collided mid-air, resulting in the deaths of all 21 crew members on both planes. The incident became known as the "Starkville Tragedy" and is still remembered in the town today.

2. On April 16, 1963, civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr. wrote his famous open letter from a Birmingham jail. The letter, addressed to nonviolent protesters who had criticized King's tactics, explained his philosophy of nonviolent resistance and underscored the need for immediate action to end segregation and discrimination.

3. On April 16, 1964, civil rights activist James Meredith was shot while on a "March Against Fear" from Memphis, Tennessee, to Jackson, Mississippi. Meredith had been the first African American student to enroll at the University of Mississippi in 1962 and had faced violent opposition from segregationists. Although he survived the assassination attempt, the incident sparked further tension and violence in the civil rights movement.

4. On April 16, 1975, the University of Southern Mississippi held its first "Festival of Southern Arts," a celebration of the region's literature, music, and traditions. The festival has since become an annual event and is known today as the "FestivalSouth."

5. On April 16, 1990, the Mississippi state flag was officially adopted. The flag features a Confederate battle emblem in its design, which has been a source of controversy and criticism for many years. In recent years, there have been calls to change the flag to one that is more inclusive and representative of all Mississippians.
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