Tougaloo College Joins Universities Studying Slavery.

It has been a busy February week here in 2018 as schools continue join the growing Universities Studying Slavery (USS) consortium. With thirty-six participating institutions representing schools in the United States, Canada, England, and Scotland, it has become a movement. Today, we are thrilled to announce that Tougaloo College has officially signed on. We have had the good fortune of working closely with Tougaloo College and John Rosenthall of the Tougaloo College Research and Development Foundation over the past year on developing a multi-institution systemic repair initiative.

Tougaloo College, a private Historically Black Colleges or University (HBCU) was founded by the American Missionary Association (AMA)1869. The AMA purchased five hundred acres of land from John Boddie, owner of the Boddie Plantation, to establish a school for the training of young people “irrespective of religious tenets and conducted on the most liberal principles for the benefit of our citizens in general.” The money for the plantation was provided by the Freedman’s Bureau. The Mississippi State Legislature granted the institution a charter under the name of “Tougaloo University” in 1871. Later, the name was changed to Tougaloo College.

The oldest building on the campus, originally known as the Boddie Mansion, was constructed in 1860, and was intended to serve as the “big house” for John Boddie and guests to his cotton plantation. According to legend, Boddie constructed the house to impress his fiancée but she was so repulsed by his harsh treatment of slaves that she left Boddie and married another man. The College is mapping the history of the Boddie Plantation to document the activities on that land prior to the AMA purchase. The mansion is one of the few houses in the Jackson area that withstood the Civil War. After the war, the mansion became the nucleus for one of the first schools established in Mississippi to educate and train freed slaves. It now houses the administrative offices for the College.

Tougaloo College has gained national respect for its high academic standards and level of social responsibility. The College reached the ultimate demonstration of its social commitment during the turbulent years of the 1960s. During that period Tougaloo College was in the forefront of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, serving as the safe haven for those who fought for freedom, equality, and justice and the sanctuary within which the strategies were devised and implemented to end segregation and improve race relations. Tougaloo College’s leadership, courage in opening its campus to the Freedom Riders and other Civil Rights workers and leaders, and its bravery in supporting a movement whose time had come, helped to change the economic, political, and social fabric of the state of Mississippi and the nation.

We are honored to have Tougaloo College join the USS cause.