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Tuesday, March 30, 2010

Robertson Museum Jackson Mississippi

The Robertson Museum and Cultural Center of Jackson is less than a mile away from the states capital. The museum housed in the former Smith Robertson School, this actual school was the first built for African Americans in Jackson. The school opened in 1894 and served African American students until 1971. The original structure was two-story and made of wood until it burned in 1909. Soon after a brick structure was built by an African American contractor the same year. In 1929, the prominent architectural firm Hull and Mulvaney enlarged the building and enhanced it with its Art Deco facade. The school was named for Mr. Smith Robertson, who was born a slave in Fayette, Alabama, in 1847. After the Civil War, he migrated to Jackson where he operated a successful barbering business. He was also in local politics and became the first African-American Alderman in the City of Jackson. One of the most notorious graduates was Richard Wright a writer who graduated in 1925 from the school. The school was closed in 1971 due to integration. Concerned citizens within the community wanted to stop the building from being torn down. Dr. Jessie Mosley and Dr. Alferdteen Harrison organized a petition to save the school. The museum opened in 1984. Dr. Jessie Mosley was the museum's first director and was eventually named "Director Emeritus."

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