Tuesday, November 12, 2013

West Jackson Colored School " Mother School" School for Negro Boys and Girls

Smith Robertson  ( 1847-1899)
Smith Robertson was born a slave in Fayette, Alabama, in 1847. After the  Civil War, he migrated to Mississippi where he operated a successful barber business. He became involved in local politics and became the first African American Alderman for the City of Jackson, Mississippi. On December 6, 1879, at the time when the enrollment of colored children exceeded that of white children in the Jackson Public Schools. Smith Robertson was appointed by the Mayor and Board of Alderman to the Board of Trustees for the school for color pupils. He was reappointed in December, 1880 and served as a member of he Board of Aldermen from 1879 until 1899. He began serving his second term, which would have ended in 1910; however, this tern was interrupted by his untimely death on December 30,1899.

The building was erected in 1894. Smith Robertson School was the first public school for Negro boys and girls in the state of Mississippi. The school was named in honor of Mr. Smith Robertson. The school was originally named the West Jackson Colored School and later became known as the “Mother School” it is located in the Capitol City of Jackson, Mississippi.

The new building was constructed after the first one was almost completely destroyed by fire January 3, 1909. The new building was completed in September 1909 and remodeled in 1935 when the Art Deco facade and added along with more classrooms. The school remained open until 1971.. when a court order it closed due to public school desegregation. The building fell into disarray until the efforts of deeply committed local humanitarians became a reality.

Reopened in 1984 as Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center it remains the largest museum in the state of Mississippi that host a vast collection of African American artifacts.

Richard Wright
 A once in a lifetime opportunity awaits you inside the Smith Robertson Museum and Cultural Center. Located a stone's throw from the State Capitol building, it's just within walking distance of principal businesses and attractions in downtown Jackson. Through art, artifacts, and photography, the work, lifestyle, and artistic contributions of African Americans are celebrated, evoking a greater understanding of the African-American experience in the Deep South.

Smith Robertson School is also the alma mater of Richard Nathaniel Wright, the author of “ Black Boy” and “Native Son” Wright was a member of the graduate class of 1925, and went on to become a highly acclaimed and world renowned writer.

The museum host several permanent exhibitions of visual art in various mediums. Also on exhibition is a vast collection of period artifacts, oral histories, memorabilia, historical documents, and periodicals. Our main gallery (David Taylor Gallery) showcases local and traveling exhibitions from across the United States. Modern and contemporary shows alternate with those dedicated to art from other cultures and earlier historical periods. The museums primary focus, highlighting the Mississippi African American experience, past and present.

Please  visit the  Smith Robertson and Cultural Center located at
 528 Bloom St., Jackson, MS 39202-4005
Contact number:  601-960-1457