On Friday, July 7, 2017, several Jim Hill High School students presented their research findings about the Civil Rights history of West Jackson. This effort was lead by Dr. Larry Thurman, Jim Hill teacher and ’67 graduate and Dr. Jeanee Middleton-Hairston, West Jackson resident and ’67 Jim Hill graduate.
Over the summer break, students conducted interviews of local Civil Rights activists, including highlighting the growth, development and expansion of the West Jackson community. Students interviewed the following Civil Rights leaders:
Meredith Anding Jr.– Mr. Anding was apart of the Tougaloo 9. The Tougaloo 9 students were arrested in 1961 at a Jackson Library for ‘disturbing the peace’. They were held in jail for 36 hours, fined $100 dollars, and received a year’s probation.
Della Archie– Ms. Archie attended Jim Hill High School in 1970 and was the first female to get a Army commission through the Army R.O.T.C. at JSU. 1976 was the first year the Army allowed women to get commissioned through Army R.O.T.C.
Alexander Chess– Mr. Chess is graduate of Jim Hill, class of’67, and his father was Elport Chess. Elport Chess lead the Lanier Bus Boycott of 1947. His father was arrested for refusing to give up his seat to a white woman. He was beaten and jailed and subsequently he lead a two week bus boycott of the Jackson Transportation System.
Jan Hillegas– Ms. Hillegas came to Jackson during the Civil Rights era and has remained in West Jackson resident ever since. She helped behind the scenes during the Civil Rights movement by writing and publishing weekly newsletters and documenting the movement.
Ineva May-Pittman– She fought for equality in a segregated and underfunded school system and taught at Isable Elementary for several decades.
The students expressed pride, joy, sadness, and humility as they reported their findings. They were also humbled to know that these history making events happened in their neighborhood and it was not in their history books.
Jim Hill Student Participants
Please see pictures from the event below.
St. Mark’s Episcopal Church sponsored the project and it was funded by the Kellogg Foundation, in partnership with the MS Department of Archives and History.