WESTerday Trivia Answer: Campbell College

Moses B. Salter Hall on the campus of Campbell College (Photo: MDAH)

Once upon a time, two colleges sat literally across the street from each other. One was Jackson State College, and the other was the answer to today’s trivia–(B.) Campbell College.

Campbell College began in Vicksburg in 1890 as a project of Bethel A.M.E. Church. Classes were originally held in Bethel Hall–a space located at the rear of the church–and the college eventually developed the first industrial arts curriculum for African Americans in the State of Mississippi.

In 1899, the African Methodist Episcopal Church decided to move Campbell College from Vicksburg to Jackson, Mississippi. A 1938 report from the Works Progress Administration describes the campus as

“composed of two brick buildings three stories in height and several frame buildings, including the residence of the president…It has a high school department and offers a four-year college course leading to the Bachelor of Science Degree.”

Students at Campbell College were active in the Civil Rights Movement. In 1960, student body president, Charles Jones, led students in a boycott of businesses on Capitol Street. The following year, the College opened its doors to many of McComb’s Burgland High School students who had been arrested for a peaceful protest and expelled for refusing to sign a letter that would bind them from participating in future protests.

The arrests and expulsions had blacklisted the students from enrolling in other school districts for the rest of the year, and Campbell College saw to it that the students still received an education.

Campbell College occupied the northern side of John R. Lynch Street as Jackson State College occupied the southern side for many years. In fact, Campbell College was in West Jackson before Jackson State moved across the street (Jackson State moved onto Lynch Street in 1904). Nevertheless, Campbell College gradually grew financially weaker and in 1964, the campus that had become deteriorated and in debt, was seized through eminent domain by the State of Mississippi. The land from this seizure was turned over to Jackson State College, thus merging the two campuses.

That’s it for this week’s Black History edition of WESTerday Trivia. Y’all come back later, ya hear?

Sources:

Mississippi Black History Makers by George A. Sewell and Margaret L. Dwight
Campbell College by the Margaret Walker Alexander National Research Center
Mississippi: The WPA Guide to the Magnolia
History of Higher Education Annual by Roger Geiger

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About Jackson State University, Center for University-Based Development (684 Articles)
We blog about things that are absolutely, positively West Jackson (Mississippi).

12 Comments on WESTerday Trivia Answer: Campbell College

  1. Angie Denman // February 10, 2011 at 7:19 pm // Reply

    I responded to the question first I believe but I guess I didn’t answer in the right place. When I was a little girl visiting in Jackson with my family. my mother took us to Campbell College and we got a short tour. My mother, Norma Hodge, worked there at one point in time as a secretary.

  2. Thanks for this history lesson about a campus I only knew by name. Very interesting, and thanks especially for the WPA description. Something I had heard about the college was that the state was especially interested in acquiring the campus specifically because they were considered troublemakers and as a private school couldn’t be “controlled” like a state institution might be. Is that story based at all in fact, or is it mainly speculation?

    • I’ve read that the land was taken by the state in retaliation to Campbell College’s participation in the civil rights movement. There’s no way to know for sure though since the state probably didn’t document their motives. Let us know, though, if you uncover some evidence! Thanks for participating!

      By the way, we had a couple readers respond to the trivia on Facebook. I’ll do the random drawing shortly and will let you know whether or not you’re the winner.

  3. Thanks for the information. My father Rev. Thomas E. Porter graduated from there in 1942.

  4. when the college closed where did all there records go?

  5. Greetings! I know this is kind of off topic but I was wondering which blog platform are you using for this site?
    I’m getting sick and tired of WordPress because I’ve had issues with hackers and I’m looking at
    alternatives for another platform. I would be great if you could point me
    in the direction of a good platform.

    • Dennis W. Porter // April 23, 2015 at 5:48 pm // Reply

      Again thanks .My father Rev. Thomas E. Porter graduated from Campbell college n 1942. He was an A.M.E pastor for over 50 plus years in the 4th episcopal district.

  6. I.T. Montgomery was one of the founders of Campbell College at Bethel AME in Vicksburg.

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