This renewed prosperity lasted until the s when the automobile and Interstate Highway System became more popular than passenger rails. The population has since continued to decrease as the city has struggled to create a modern economy based on newer industries. During the height of the American Civil Rights Movement in the s, Meridian was a major center of organizing and activism.
They worked on creating a community center, preparing people in the area for voter registration, and organizing a boycott of a variety store that had yet to hire its first black worker. The activism from Northerners was not widely accepted among local residents; it caused great tension between not only white and black citizens of Meridian, but whites and blacks throughout the South.
Racial tension often translated to violence. In June Chaney, Schwerner and Goodman went to Neshoba County, Mississippi , to meet with members of a black church which had been bombed and burned. The three young men disappeared that night on their way back to Meridian. Two months later authorities discovered the bodies of the men buried in an earthen dam.
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The federal government indicted seventeen Klansmen , and tried ten for conspiracy under the Enforcement Act of Seven men were convicted and three were acquitted. The murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner — along with years of work from other activists — helped gain national support for Federal legislation to end segregation and protect civil and voting rights of all citizens. Meridian later honored Chaney by renaming a portion of 49th Ave after him. Meridian's downtown core had begun to disappear after World War II. As citizens began to move away from downtown in favor of new subdivisions north of downtown, strip commercial interests began to move downtown.
To attempt to save the historic nature of the city's downtown district and other areas, several areas were designated historic districts in the s and 80s.
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In Meridian Main Street helped organize the construction of a new Amtrak Station based on the design of the historic train station used during Meridian's Golden Age which had been demolished. The construction of the Amtrak station and linking of transportation modes sparked a citywide effort to restore downtown to its lively prosperity of the early 20th century. In , the Rosenbaum Building was renovated and reopened containing condominiums on the upper floors and retail stores on the street level.
Weidmann's restaurant , built around , was sold to a group of local investors and reopened in fall after extensive renovations.
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Meridian Main Street was handed over to the Alliance for Downtown Meridian in late after the Mississippi Main Street Association, the statewide coordinator of all local Main Street organizations, ordered local governments operating these organizations in the public sector to turn them over to the private sector. The downtown revitalization effort is now spearheaded by a collaboration of three privately owned organizations: the Alliance for Downtown Meridian, Meridian Main Street, and the Meridian Downtown Association.
Though the three organizations are separate entities, the Alliance serves as an umbrella organization , allowing the Meridian Downtown Association and Meridian Main Street to use its support staff and housing, and in turn the Alliance serves as a liaison between the organizations. Plans were underway for the Alliance to renovate the Threefoot Building into a mixed-use development before the end of ; however, as of January , Mayor Cheri Barry has ended the city's relationship with HRI Properties.
Today the Alliance helps to promote further development and restoration downtown and has been designated by the city as the official downtown economic development program, receiving partial funding from the city. The remainder and majority of the organization's funding, however, comes from donations from downtown businesses. The Alliance has stated that it focuses on assisting businesses like specialty shops, restaurants, and bars because these types of businesses help downtown become more active during the day and at night.
The Meridian Downtown Association, which is completely privately funded, is primarily focused on increasing foot traffic downtown by organizing special events, and the Meridian Main Street program supports existing businesses downtown. Other designed and proposed projects in the city include several museums in downtown and an African-American Business District on 5th Street, as well as several murals and public arts projects on various buildings' facades.
Many historic hotels have existed in Meridian throughout its history. Even before Meridian reached its "Golden Age," several large hotels including the Great Southern and the Grand Avenue hotels were built around the start of the 20th century. As the city grew, the hotels grew as well, as evidenced by the eleven-story skyscraper Lamar Hotel built in Another historic hotel was established in , the E. Young Hotel. As the city became more suburb-focused in the s and '70s, most hotels moved outside of downtown, but there has been a push for a new downtown hotel, sparked by the rehabilitation of the Riley Center in Meridian contains nine historic districts listed on the National Register of Historic Places , illustrating the city's rich history.
Many architectural styles are present in the districts, most from the late 19th and early 20th centuries, including Queen Anne , Colonial Revival , Italianate , Art Deco , Late Victorian , and Bungalow. The districts are:  . From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia. See also: Battle of Meridian. Spann remarking about the Chunky Creek Train Wreck , .
See also: Murders of Chaney, Goodman, and Schwerner. Main article: Hotels in Meridian, Mississippi. Main article: Historic districts in Meridian, Mississippi. Mississippi Historical Society. April Archived from the original on Retrieved Official website of Meridian, MeridianMS. National Register of Historic Places.
National Park Service. Choctaw Museum of the Southern Indian. Don E.
Meridian: The Queen with a Past. Volume I. Meridian, Mississippi: Brown Printing Company. Mississippi:A Guide to the Magnolia State. New York: Hastings House. The Meridian Star.
Thunder at Meridian. Lone Star Press. February 6, Archived from the original on June 10, Boggan February 6, December Confederate Veteran Magazine. XIII no. Sherman January 21, Sherman — Meridian Campaign". Louis, Missouri. Archived from the original on January 12, Nation Books.
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July 22, Archived from the original on January 3, Retrieved July 15, January 16, Meridian: The Queen With a Past. Volume II. Meridian, Mississippi: Southeastern Printing Company. Meridian Arts Council. September 19, First Presbyterian Church of Meridian. January 23, University of Missouri-Kansas City. The Mississippi Business Journal. Archived from the original on July 10, Archived from the original on January 11, Archived from the original pdf on City of Meridian.
Mississippi Department of Archives and History. Young, Jr. Archived from the original on July 12, Frye August 20, County seat : Meridian.
State of Mississippi. Jackson capital. Seal of Mississippi. Gulfport Jackson Southaven. Bay St. Rankin County E Government St. Brandon, MS Perry County P. Box New Augusta, MS Poplarville, MS Oktibbeha County W Main St. Starkville, MS Noxubee County S. Macon, MS Newton County 92 W Broad St. Decatur, MS Neshoba County Beacon St. Marshall County P. Box Holly Springs, MS Marion County Broad St. Madison County W Center St. Canton, MS Leake County P.
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