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What is: Emmett Till Memorial Highway, US 49E intersects with Mississippi Highway No. 32, Henry Clarence Strider Memorial Highway, near Webb, Mississippi

What was: An imposing man weighing 270 pounds, Strider was the sheriff of Tallahatchie County and a wealthy plantation owner in the heart of the cotton-growing Delta. His property could be identified from miles away by the letters S-T-R-I-D-E-R, which he insisted be painted on the roofs of sharecroppers’ shacks.

Strider was the first official to learn that a body had been discovered by a young man fishing in the Tallahatchie River. He hoped to bury the body right away, and even ordered Emmett Till’s Mississippi relatives to get his body in the ground by nightfall. Strider made the unusual move of testifying for the defense. He shed doubt on the identification of Emmett’s body, saying the corpse had been submerged too long to tell whether it was that of a white or a black person, suggesting the body might have been planted there by the NAACP.  He is also suspected of helping hide several witnesses so they could not be found to testify.His testimony bolstered the main defense argument: Emmett Till was still alive and well, living in Detroit with his grandfather. After the verdict was announced, Strider publicly congratulated the defendants. Source: https://www.pbs.org/wgbh/americanexperience/features/emmett-biography-sheriff-clarence-strider/

In 1972, 2 years after Strider died of a heart attack, a portion of Mississippi Highway No. 32 running between Webb and Charleston in Tallahatchie County was named the Henry Clarence Strider Memorial Highway.  In 2005, 50 years after Emmett Till was lynched in one of the most infamous crimes of the civil rights era, a stretch of Mississippi highway was dedicated to him. It is a section of the highway his body traveled to be sent back to Chicago.

The Strider and Till highways intersect near Webb, Mississippi.

What is: Original Route 66, ghostly and abandoned Route 66 near Hext, OK.

What Was: Route 66 has been the path of migrants, dreamers, desperados, and an entire generation of vacationers discovering the way west. America’s Mother Road originally meandered more than 2,400 miles between Chicago and Los Angeles, including nearly 400 miles across Oklahoma. Route 66 through Oklahoma was also known as the Will Rodgers Highway, a tribute to stage, film and vaudeville actor, cowboy, humorist and social commentator of Cherokee descent.

Originally Hext grew as the railroad passed through on the way to Texas. A ranch and farm community, it only had a post office for a year in the early 1900s. As Route 66 came through it had a smattering of buildings and a gas station. Hext also featured a fairly large brick school that was built by the Work Progress Administration in the 1930’s.

Route 66 was never just one road. It was continually realigned through communities and upgraded from 2 to 4 lanes and from cement to asphalt. Route 66 came through Hext in 1929 after being upgraded in a realignment. This section of Route 66 was paved with asphalt over the original 1929 concrete base. In 1973, Route 66 through Hext became the last section of Route 66 to lose its designation to I-40.