Legal History

Historic Mississippi Federal Courthouse Is Among Six Being Shut Down

Federal judges will no longer be traveling to a historic courthouse in Meridian, Miss., to hear cases.

The courthouse is one of six that will be shut down, “a victim of its quietness and the fiscal urgencies of Washington,” the New York Times reports. At one time, the courthouse had a higher profile.

“Even on a steamy humdrum Thursday afternoon,” the story says, “this city’s stately federal courtroom looks like the kind of place where momentous things could happen, as they once did. The legal campaign to integrate the University of Mississippi got under way here in May 1961, and it was here that a local posse of Klansmen who murdered three civil rights workers faced justice at the hands of their neighbors, the first time that had happened in Mississippi.”

The bodies of the three civil rights workers were temporarily kept downstairs in a basement that now houses a credit union, the story says, and “parts of the building seem haunted.”

Prior coverage: “Court Closings Announced; Illinois US District Courts Weigh Weekly Shutdowns” “US Budget Impasse Could Eliminate All Federal Civil Jury Trials, Judicial Conference Leader Says”

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