Fielder and Brooks Drug Store
Meridian, Lauderdale County
The Fielder and Brooks Drug Store is an unassuming building located in the Urban Center National Register Historic District in Meridian. The two-story commercial building clad in stucco was constructed in 1879. A plaque on the second story façade lists the architect and builder as L. Scully, the same man who built the Cohn Sheehan buildings across the street.
The building is located in Meridian’s traditionally African American business district. For decades the building housed the Fielder and Brooks Drug Store run by African American businessmen. It is also extremely significant as it was part of the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi. In 1964 the Meridian chapter of the Council of Federated Organizations (COFO) moved their office to the second floor above the drug store. Civil Rights activities in east-central Mississippi were organized from here and it also had a community center with donated books housed on shelves built by Mickey and Rita Schwerner. In June of 1964 Civil Rights activists Schwerner, Chaney and Goodman left Meridian from the COFO office for Neshoba County where they were arrested and killed.
The building has undergone some changes over the years but still retains its important significance tied to the African American business community of Meridian and the Civil Rights movement. As the building is not being used, deterioration will take its toll if unchecked, and there is currently a hole in the roof allowing water to penetrate the building.
The Fielder and Brooks building, along with others in the historic African American commercial district, has been identified in a study exploring redeveloping the area and building a Freedom Park related to the Civil Rights struggle in Meridian. If resources can be found to make that happen, the Fielder and Brooks Drug Store could become a central part of the redevelopment, with the restoration of the COFO office for exhibits and interpretation so people can learn more about the Civil Rights movement in Mississippi in a significant location where it took place.
2015 Update – Lost
After the roof caved in, the Fielder and Brooks Drug Store was deemed structurally unsound and demolished in 2014.