Preserving JSU’s Legacy: University’s birth site in Natchez gets historical marker

(JACKSON, Miss.) – Jackson State University administrators and alumni took a pilgrimage to Natchez, Mississippi, to honor the university by placing a historical marker at its founding location.The president of the JSU National Alumni Association, Dr. Earlexia Norwood, said, “As the representative for 50,000 alumni throughout the world, I am very excited that we had the opportunity to step on the grounds where JSU started. This marker is a reminder that we will never forget the sacrifices and struggles that have occurred since 1877.”Also, she said, “A lot of people don’t know that the school actually transitioned to Jackson from Natchez due to the outbreak of yellow fever in the late 1800s. Natchez Seminary began as a place to train ministers, and then, as Jackson College, it trained teachers. Once the name transitioned to Jackson State University, Dr. (John A.) Peoples fought to expand the curriculum so that the university could accommodate students pursuing a vast number of different academic backgrounds. JSU has overcome a lot of trials and tribulations to become the global university that we know today.”In 1877, the school was established as Natchez Seminary by the American Baptist Home Mission Society and the Mississippi Baptist Convention Association to improve Christian leaders of color in Mississippi and its neighboring states.Today, JSU offers 93 degree programs within five academic colleges and is home to more than 7,000 students. Furthermore, the university ranks among the top 10 HBCUs in research; top 20 among 50 best online colleges; and top three among institutions in the nation awarding doctorates to black students.