A MDAH Publication | Volume 45 No. 5 | May 2003
A Capitol Celebration! June 3-4
Centennial of Mississippi's State Capitol
On Tuesday, June 3, at 11:00 a.m., a historical recreation of the 1903 dedication of Mississippi's "New" Capitol will kick off a two-day celebration of the centennial of this grand building, according to centennial committee co-chairs Senator Hillman Frazier and Representative Mary Ann Stevens. After the ceremony, a giant cake will be cut, and special tours of the building will be offered. Commemorative centennial booklets, postcards, and copies of a new, full-color guide to the Capitol building will be distributed to all attending.
The next day, Wednesday, June 4, the celebration continues with a Mississippi Picnic and Concert on the Capitol grounds from 5:00 to 8:00 p.m., starring Mississippi music and Mississippi food! Samples of regional specialties from all over the state-catfish, gumbo, barbecue, and more-will be offered. Bring a picnic and sample the delicacies-while listening to the Mississippi Musical Revue, featuring Mississippi musicians Raphael Semmes, Jewel Bass, and Jesse Robinson. Darienne Wilson, Tourism director, Mississippi Development Authority, has invited the King of the Blues, B. B. King, to be the final entertainer of the evening.
Reddix Portrait Dedication May 9
The portrait of Jacob Lorenzo Reddix, fifth president of Jackson State University (1940- 1967), will be dedicated to the Mississippi Hall of Fame in ceremonies at the Old Capitol May 9 at 2:00 p.m. The public is invited.
Born in Vancleave in 1897, the youngest of nine sons born to former slaves, Reddix served in the army during World War I (1917-1919) and attained the rank of corporal. After earning a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Lewis Institute, Illinois Institute of Technology, he did graduate work at the University of Chicago as a Rosenwald Fellow. He taught in the public schools for fifteen years. During this time his interest and expertise in the cooperative movement grew, and he was recruited to serve as a specialist in cooperatives for the United States Department of Agriculture in Washington, D.C.
In 1940 Reddix assumed the presidency of Jackson College, as it was then known, and during his twenty-seven-year tenure guided the school through the turbulent era of segregation and racial discrimination in Mississippi. Reddix built a new academic program for the college and added a graduate program of studies. Jackson State became the primary institution for the preparation of African American teachers and administrators in the state. Under his guidance the school saw the addition of talented faculty such as noted writer Margaret Walker Alexander and the construction of twenty-seven academic buildings and two faculty housing units.
Reddix was instrumental in the founding of two financial institutions: the Hinds County Educational Federal Credit Union and the State Mutual Savings and Loan Association, the latter of which was the forerunner of the First American Bank of Jackson, the only African American-operated commercial bank in Mississippi until its recent merger with Liberty Bank. In 1948, as a consultant to the Phelps Stokes Fund, he traveled to the Republic of Liberia to study the feasibility of a teacher education program there.
He wrote two books on the cooperative movement and a volume of memoirs. Jacob Reddix died on May 9, 1973, and was buried in Garden Memorial Park, Jackson.
by the Mississippi Department of Archives
and History Elbert R. Hilliard, director Chrissy Wilson, editor