Central High School (Jackson, Mississippi)

Last updated
Central High School
Jackson December 2018 18 (Mississippi Department of Education).jpg
Former school building, now the Mississippi Department of Education headquarters
359 North West Street


United States
Coordinates 32°18′08″N90°11′05″W / 32.3022°N 90.1848°W / 32.3022; -90.1848 Coordinates: 32°18′08″N90°11′05″W / 32.3022°N 90.1848°W / 32.3022; -90.1848
Type Public high school
Established1888 (1888)
School district Jackson Public School District

Central High School was a public high school in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. It was established in 1888 and was part of the Jackson Public School District. Its building currently serves as the headquarters of the Mississippi Department of Education (MDE). [1]

State schools, called public schools in North America and many other countries, are generally primary or secondary schools mandated for or offered to all children without charge, funded in whole or in part by taxation.

Secondary school A building and/or organization where secondary education is provided

A secondary school is both an organization that provides secondary education and the building where this takes place. Some secondary schools can provide both lower secondary education and upper secondary education, but these can also be provided in separate schools, as in the American middle and high school system.

Jackson, Mississippi Capital of Mississippi

Jackson, officially the City of Jackson, is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Mississippi. It is one of two county seats of Hinds County, along with Raymond, Mississippi. The city of Jackson also includes around 3,000 acres comprising Jackson-Medgar Evers International Airport in Rankin County and a small portion of Madison County. The city's population was estimated to be 165,072 in 2017, a decline from 173,514 in 2010. The city sits on the Pearl River and is located in the greater Jackson Prairie region of Mississippi.



Central High School was established in 1888. [2] It was an all-white school until the late 1960s. [3] Donna Ladd, in an article in the Jackson Free Press , described it as one of several "jewels in the crown of white Jackson back before forced integration—in a time when white conservatives abundantly funded public schools and extracurricular activities with tax money for their own." [4] Circa 1969 the first African-American students attended the school. [3] Jackson schools integrated by law as per Derek Jerome Singleton vs. the Jackson Public School District, decided in 1969. [5]

School segregation in the United States racial segregation; aspect of history

School segregation in the United States has a long history. In 1782, African Americans in Boston, including Prince Hall, campaigned against inequality and discrimination in the city's public schools. They petitioned the state legislature, protesting that their taxes supported the schooling of white students while there was no public school open to their children. In 1835, an anti-abolitionist mob attacked and destroyed Noyes Academy, an integrated school in Canaan, New Hampshire founded by abolitionists in New England. In 1849, the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that segregated schools were allowed under the Constitution of Massachusetts.

<i>Jackson Free Press</i> newspaper in Jackson, Mississippi

The Jackson Free Press, referred to often as simply "JFP", is a for profit community magazine available free of charge at various retail establishments in Jackson, Mississippi founded in 2002 and owned by Mississippi native and Donna Ladd, author and technology expert Todd Stauffer. It is currently the only member of the Association of Alternative Newsweeklies (AAN) in the state of Mississippi. JFP distributes approximately 15,000 free copies to 425+ locations throughout the Jackson metropolitan area twice monthly. It is known locally for its annual Best of Jackson awards as nominated by its readers and its online political blogs. It also has sponsored numerous local events such as the Fondren ArtMix, JubileeJam, the Chick Ball, the "Race, Religion & Society Series" and the Crossroads Film Festival.

Desegregation is the process of ending the separation of two groups usually referring to races. Desegregation is typically measured by the index of dissimilarity allowing researchers to determine whether desegregation efforts are having impact on the settlement patterns of various groups. This is most commonly used in reference to the United States. Desegregation was long a focus of the Civil Rights Movement, both before and after the United States Supreme Court's decision in Brown v. Board of Education, particularly desegregation of the school systems and the military. Racial integration of society was a closely related goal.

In August 2015, smoke from a fire in a nearby hotel, as well as water resulting from the incident, damaged the Central High building, so the Mississippi Department of Education temporarily moved its headquarters to the South Pointe Business Park in Clinton. The headquarters was scheduled to move back on July 25, 2016. [1]

Mississippi Department of Education

The Mississippi Department of Education (MDE) is the state education agency of Mississippi. It is headquartered in the former Central High School Building at 359 North West Street in Jackson.

Clinton, Mississippi City in Mississippi, United States

Clinton is a city in Hinds County, Mississippi, United States. Situated in the Jackson metropolitan area, it is the tenth largest city in Mississippi. The population was 25,216 at the 2010 United States Census.

Notable alumni

Eudora Welty American short story writer and novelist

Eudora Alice Welty was an American short story writer and novelist who wrote about the American South. Her novel The Optimist's Daughter won the Pulitzer Prize in 1973. Welty received numerous awards, including the Presidential Medal of Freedom and the Order of the South. She was the first living author to have her works published by the Library of America. Her house in Jackson, Mississippi, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and is open to the public as a house museum.

Related Research Articles

Brookhaven, Mississippi City in Mississippi, United States

Brookhaven is a small city in Lincoln County, Mississippi, United States, 60 miles south of the state capital of Jackson. The population was 12,520 at the 2010 U.S. Census. It is the county seat of Lincoln County. It was named after the Town of Brookhaven, New York by founder Samuel Jayne in 1818.

Segregation academy

Segregation academies are private schools in the Southern United States that were founded in the mid-20th century by white parents to avoid having their children in desegregated public schools. They were founded between 1954, when the U.S. Supreme Court ruled that segregated public schools were unconstitutional, and 1976, when the court ruled similarly about private schools.

Donna K. Ladd is an American investigative journalist who helped create The Jackson Free Press, an award-winning freely distributed community magazine. She has received international recognition for her racial reconciliation efforts in Mississippi and nationally, helping bring "cold" civil rights cases to justice and for her coverage of Frank Melton, the controversial mayor of Jackson, Mississippi.

Murrah High School Public school in Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Murrah High School is a public high school in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. It is a part of the Jackson Public School District.

Jackson Preparatory School (Mississippi) Independent school in Jackson, Mississippi, United States

Jackson Preparatory School is an independent, coeducational, day school enrolling 820 students in grades six through twelve. The school is located in Flowood, Mississippi, a suburb of Jackson, and has a controversial history as a segregation academy.

The Jackson Public School District (JPSD) or Jackson Public Schools (JPS) is a public school district serving the majority of Jackson, the state capital and largest city of the U.S. state of Mississippi. Established in 1888, it is the second largest and only urban school district in the state.

The Sunflower County Consolidated School District (SCCSD), formerly the Sunflower County School District (SCSD), is a public school district with its headquarters in Indianola, Mississippi in the Mississippi Delta. The district serves all of Sunflower County.

Madison County School District (Mississippi)

The Madison County School District is a public school district based in Ridgeland, Mississippi (USA).

The Clinton Public School District is a public school district based in Clinton, Mississippi (USA).

Lanier High School is a high school in Jackson, Mississippi, United States. It is part of the Jackson Public School District. The current principal is Valerie Bradley. There were a total of 872 students enrolled in Lanier High during the 2006–2007 school year. The gender makeup of the district was 52% female and 48% male. The racial makeup of the school is 100% African American.

Pillow Academy Private school in Greenwood, Mississippi, United States

Pillow Academy (PA) is an independent, co-educational college preparatory school in unincorporated Leflore County, Mississippi, near Greenwood. It was founded by white parents in 1966 as a segregation academy to avoid having their children attend school with blacks.

Education in Mississippi can be traced historically as far back as the early 19th century. While early efforts at systematic education were mostly in the form of private schools and academies, a public education system was founded during the Reconstruction era, by the biracial legislature led by the Republican Party. It was implemented by the late 1800s. Throughout its history, Mississippi has produced notable education inequalities due to racial segregation and underfunding of black schools, as well as rural zoning and lack of commitment to funding education.

Greenwood High School (Mississippi) Comprehensive public high school in Greenwood, MS, United States

Greenwood High School is a public high school located in Greenwood, Leflore County, in the U.S. state of Mississippi. The school is part of the Greenwood-Leflore Consolidated School District.

Starkville Academy Private school in Starkville, Mississippi founded in 1969 as a segregation academy in response to the racial integration of public schools

Starkville Academy (SA) is a private kindergarten through 12th grade school in Starkville, Mississippi, operated by the Oktibbeha Educational Foundation. It was founded in 1969 on property adjacent to Starkville High School as a segregation academy.

Winston Academy Private school in Louisville, Mississippi founded in 1969 as a segregation academy in response to the racial integration of public schools

Winston Academy is a private college preparatory school in Louisville, Mississippi. It was founded in 1969 as a segregation academy.

Woodland Hills Academy (Mississippi) Private school

Woodland Hills Academy was a private high school in Jackson, Mississippi, established in 1969 when the Jackson School Board was ordered to desegregate following the landmark Brown v. Board of Education Supreme Court ruling. Woodland Hills was one of many private schools formed in Mississippi. In 1963, there were 17 private schools in the state; by 1970 there were 236.

The Mississippi Red Clay region was a center of education segregation. Before the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954, Mississippi sponsored freedom of choice policies that effectively segregated schools. After Brown, the effort was private with some help from government. Government support has dwindled in every decade since. In the state capital, Jackson, some public schools were converted to white-only Council schools. Today, some all-white and mostly-white private schools remain throughout the region as a legacy of that period.


  1. 1 2 "MDE Offices to Move Back to Central High School Building". Mississippi Department of Education. July 19, 2016. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  2. 1 2 3 Fowler, Sarah (May 1, 2015). "Central High School Class of '65 celebrates reunion". The Clarion-Ledger. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  3. 1 2 Dreher, Arielle (November 15, 2017). "How Integration Failed in Jackson's Public Schools from 1969 to 2017". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  4. Ladd, Donna (September 27, 2017). "Yep, JPS Takeover Is a Conspiracy. Prove Me Wrong". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved November 18, 2019.
  5. Taylor, Ayana (May 12, 2004). "JPS, Then and Now". Jackson Free Press. Retrieved November 18, 2019.