JACKSON, Miss. (AP) — Two historically Black schools — Jackson State and Tougaloo College — will share in $4 million in federal funding to help support academic and community programs, officials announced Thursday.
U.S. Rep. Bennie Thompson visited Jackson State to present the ceremonial checks to fund projects at the two schools located in his district, The Clarion Ledger reported.
“These two investments here – it’s about students,” said Thompson, who is a graduate of both colleges. “It’s about making them the best they can be ... Hopefully with these investments we will prepare our students for the world of work and the lives which they will lead after leaving these institutions.”
Jackson State will receive $3 million for its Center for Living, Learning and Cultural Engagement. President Thomas Hudson said the center will be a space for business innovation, student learning, cultural engagement and community resources.
“We do believe this center will inspire others and it certainly aligns with our historical mission to develop our community, provide resources and learning opportunities for our students,” he said.
Tougaloo will receive $1 million for the Reuben V. Anderson Institute for Social Justice, which was named for the first Black justice of the Mississippi Supreme Court and a Tougaloo graduate. President Carmen Walters said the institute was founded in 2016 and focuses on community engagement, public policy, pre-law and leadership to address issues such as poverty and economic injustice.
“We’re teaching them to be the leaders and change-makers of America,” Walters said.
Hudson and Walters both said the funding will help provide a central space to house all of the center’s and institute’s programs. They said the funding will also help with digital upgrades, such as digitizing the library at Tougaloo and archives at Jackson State.
Thompson said the federal money will “help level the playing field” for HBCUS, which have been historically underfunded.