Pike County Courthouse: Arrest Location in 1960s fight for justice

Pike County Courthouse

Susan Enzweiler in the nomination form for the Magnolia post office called the Classical Revival courthouse “…unsympathetically remodeled.”  Originally constructed in 1883, it was remodeled/ “rebuilt” circa 1917  by the Magnolia born Xavier A. Kramer, architect (Mississippi Department of Archives and History, Historic Resources Inventory database).  Kramer, son of German immigrants, also designed and built the Magnolia Electric Light Plant, Magnolia Ice Plant, and the Municipal Water Works (MDAH, HRI).  Other alterations and renovations were completed in 1972 by Koch & Wilson, architects.

Pike County is in

…the piney woods soil area of Southwest Mississippi, next to Louisiana. (cityofmagnolia.com)

It is one of 4 municipalities in the county, and became the county seat in 1872.

Probably largely unknown until 2010, the newly appointed US Attorney for the Illinois region, Jim Lewis, was arrested in Magnolia during the Civil Rights struggle (Bernard Schoenburg, The State Journal-Register, Springfield, IL, 2010).

In 1965, Lewis, not yet through with law school, found himself picketing the Pike County Courthouse in Magnolia, Mississippi.  Lewis said, ‘…we picketed for two days, quietly carrying signs…on the third day, they [the authorities] decided they’d had enough of us…so they arrested us all.’


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