Jackson State University
Backstory and Context
Founded as Natchez Seminary in 1877 by the American Baptist Home mission Society, the school was established as Natchez, Mississippi “for the moral, religious and intellectual improvement of Christian leaders of the colored people of Mississippi and the neighboring states.” In November 1882, the school was moved to Jackson; in March 1899, the curriculum was expanded and the name was changed to Jackson College.
The state assumed support of the college in 1940, assigning to it the mission of training teachers. Subsequently, between 1953 and 1956, the curriculum was expanded to include a graduate program and bachelor’s programs in the arts and sciences; the name was then changed to Jackson State College in 1956.
Further expansion of the curriculum and a notable building program preceded the elevation of Jackson State College to university status on March 15, 1974. In 1979, Jackson State was officially designated the Urban University of the State of Mississippi. Presently, Jackson State University, a public, coeducational institution, is supported by legislative appropriations supplemented by student fees and federal and private grants.