The Case for Mississippi's HBCUs: Preserving Vital Institutions

The Case for Mississippi's HBCUs: Preserving Vital Institutions

Hey HBCU Leggings fam! While Black History Month may have just ended, our commitment to honoring and defending our historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs) continues. Recently, a concerning bill has been making waves in the Mississippi Legislature, stirring up conversations and raising alarms within our community. Senate Bill 2726 has the potential to disrupt the very foundations of our cherished institutions, threatening the legacy and impact they've had on generations of leaders, thinkers, and innovators. Now is the time for us to unite and rally in support of these essential pillars of education. Let's delve deeper into the details and illuminate the significance of Mississippi's HBCUs while addressing the threats they currently face.

Senate Bill 2726, introduced by Republican Senator John Polk, has sparked concerns among HBCU advocates as it aims to close some of Mississippi’s state-funded universities. Of particular concern are the three proposed closures of historically Black institutions— Alcorn State University, Jackson State University and Mississippi Valley State University. These institutions, deeply rooted in the African American community, have long served as beacons of hope and opportunity for countless students.

Supporters of the bill argue that closures are necessary based on factors such as enrollment, financial aid, and economic impact. However, the decision ultimately lies with the Institutions of Higher Learning (IHL), tasked with overseeing Mississippi's public universities. If SB 2726 is enacted, the IHL will have until June 30, 2025, to select the universities for closure, with mandated closure by 2028.

Alcorn State University: Upholding Excellence in Education

Founded in 1871, Alcorn was the first state-supported institution for the higher education of African-Americans in the United States. From the beginning, ASU has embodied the enduring spirit of resilience and determination, initially serving as a safe place to learn for newly freed slaves, or "freedmen." Over the years, Alcorn State has evolved into a premier institution of higher learning and a Division I sports school, offering a diverse array of academic programs and opportunities for students of all interests.

What truly sets Alcorn State apart is its unwavering commitment to academic excellence, particularly in the sciences. With a strong emphasis on majors such as Biological and Biomedical Sciences, Alcorn State serves as a nurturing incubator for many young Black minds passionate about STEM education. The university's dedication to fields like agriculture and nursing equips students with the knowledge and skills necessary to thrive in a rapidly evolving world. Through groundbreaking research initiatives and impactful community service projects, Alcorn State remains at the forefront of innovation and progress.

As a trailblazer in higher education, Alcorn State continues to inspire future generations of leaders and change-makers. Its enduring legacy as a valuable pillar of Mississippi is undeniable, shaping the aspirations and dreams of countless aspiring young minds across the state.

Jackson State University: A Hub of Cultural and Artistic Expression

Nestled in the heart of Mississippi's capital, Jackson State University stands as the fourth largest university in Mississippi when it comes to student enrollment. For a quick glimpse at what JSU has to offer, read our blog post from 2022: 5 Things You Should Know about Jackson State

Jackson State is known for many things but one thing that cannot be overlooked is its world-class, award-winning marching band, Sonic Boom of the South. Renowned for its dynamic arts programs and commitment to nurturing creative talent, Jackson State fosters a vibrant community of musicians, dancers, and visual artists. Through its dedication to fostering cultural awareness and artistic excellence, the university empowers students to become agents of change and enrich their communities with their talents.

Mississippi Valley State University: Empowering Communities Through Education

Located in the Mississippi Delta, Mississippi Valley State University holds a special place in the hearts of its students and alumni. MVSU held its groundbreaking ceremony in 1950, making it less than 75 years old. With more than 75% of the students being in state,  the school prioritizes Mississippi residents by investing heavily in its local communities. With a commitment to community engagement and environmental stewardship, MVSU plays an important role in uplifting the most marginalized members of their communities and fostering economic development in the region. By offering programs in Environmental Science, Community Health, and Social Work, among others, MVSU equips students with the knowledge and skills needed to effect real, positive change in the areas that need them most. As a driving force for social and economic empowerment, Mississippi Valley State University exemplifies the transformative power of education.

How You Can Help

In response to the proposed closures, grassroots efforts have emerged to safeguard Mississippi's HBCUs. Organizations like Mississippi Votes have mobilized community members to oppose Senate Bill 2726, recognizing the critical role that HBCUs play in their communities. Through petitions, advocacy campaigns, and community outreach, supporters of HBCUs are working tirelessly to protect these invaluable institutions from closure. Here’s what you can do:

  1. Stay Informed: Keep abreast of the latest developments regarding Senate Bill 2726 and its potential impact on HBCUs in Mississippi.
  2. Educate Others: Share information about the unique contributions of institutions like Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, and Mississippi Valley State University with your friends, family, and social networks to raise awareness and mobilize support.
  3. Advocate: Reach out to local and state representatives to express your concerns about the proposed closures and advocate for the preservation of Mississippi's HBCUs.
  4. Participate: Show your solidarity with Mississippi's HBCUs by participating in advocacy campaigns, signing petitions, and attending community events aimed at defending their legacy.
  5. Support: Consider making donations to HBCUs or volunteering your time to support their programs and initiatives. Every contribution, no matter how small, makes a difference in safeguarding the future of these invaluable institutions.

Preserving the Legacy of Mississippi's HBCUs

Mississippi's HBCUs are important and now that you know more about the threat they face, it is up to us to reaffirm our commitment to preserving their legacy for future generations. Alcorn State University, Jackson State University, and Mississippi Valley State University are HBCUs that embody excellence, opportunity, and possibility for students past, present, and future. They deserve our support, so let’s stand together with these Mississippi HBCUs, fighting for their preservation and celebrating their invaluable contributions to education, culture, and society.

At HBCU Leggings, we proudly stand shoulder to shoulder with Mississippi's HBCUs, and we urge our community to join us in championing their preservation. Together, let us cherish and uphold the indelible impact of these esteemed institutions. Join us in honoring their legacy and ensuring a brighter, more inclusive future for generations to come.

Love and Leggings,


Bibi Mama is a first generation Beninese-American actress born and raised in Mansfield, CT. Growing up she watched her father, an English professor and author, continue the Yoruba oral tradition through storytelling, which inspired her. She earned her B.F.A. from Howard University and recently finished her MFA at the Old Globe/University of San Diego MFA Graduate Acting Program.
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