We hope that you will consider to contribute to our Challenge and help us in reaching our fund goal of $25,000 to fulfill our mission in supporting students and higher education.
Your gift today will help ensure HCF can continue hitting the ground running throughout 2022. We still have much important advocacy and programming work to do if we are going to help keep higher education evolving and the fight to #CampaignForHBCUs going.
HBCU alums help shape the lives of thousands of students and continue to be an asset to evolving historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and minority-serving institutions (MSIs). We at the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) are proud of their successes and love celebrating their wins. Listed below are those HBCU alums who are currently in leadership. These individuals are leading excitingly; in invaluable and well-known positions in various fields.
Dr. Larry D. Johnson, Jr. – President, Guttman Community College Dr. Larry D. Johnon, Jr. is an equity-minded student advocate with nearly 20 years of higher education experience. Selected by the CUNY Board of Trustees on February 1, 2021, to be the College’s second president, he assumed the presidency on July 1, 2021.
Johnson is a bold, creative, and experienced academic leader. In July 2018, he was appointed the sixth president of Phoenix College (a Maricopa Community College) and the first African-American in its 100-year history. The college served more than 20,000 credit and non-credit students. As President, he launched the President’s Promise, a comprehensive plan to reengage community and workforce leaders; improve employee satisfaction and engagement; implement best practices that will lead to an increase in student retention, completion, and transfer, and cultivate an environment that embraces diverse perspectives. Under Johnson’s leadership, Phoenix College increased enrollment by establishing the Neighborhood College, a partnership with the City of Phoenix that provides incumbent workers onsite educational opportunities that lead to associate degrees. The college has also received approximately $5M from the National Science Foundation (NSF) and a Title V Department of Education (DOE) grant to support initiatives that center on experiential learning programs and undergraduate research in STEM.
Dr. Johnson began his teaching career at Tallahassee Community College (2005-2007), where he taught developmental English and reading. During the period from 2007-2014, Johnson served as a humanities instructor and division chair at Georgia Piedmont Technical College. Under his leadership, the college increased student success by implementing developmental education redesign programs, which was supported by a $2.5M Title III Predominantly Black Institutions (PBI) grant from the Department of Education. Additionally, Johnson led the department in creating an inaugural conference that centered on pedagogical and high impact practices for faculty, staff, and administrators to increase student persistence and success in Gatekeeper math and English courses.
Dr. Johnson is committed to amplifying the mission of community colleges, as represented by his participation on local and national boards and commissions. Johnson is one of 25 Fellows selected for the inaugural College Excellence Program, sponsored by the Aspen Institute. Additionally, he recently completed a three-year appointment on the American Association of Community College (AACC) Commission on College Readiness. On July 1, 2021, he was appointed to serve a three-year term as a representative for the Northern Region to the Presidents Academy Executive Committee (PAEC) of the AACC. Johnson is continuing his service on the board of the Phoenix Symphony.
Dr. Johnson is a proud alumnus of a HBCU. He attended Florida A&M University, where he earned his BA in English literature. He earned his MA in Humanities and a graduate certificate from Florida State University. Johnson holds a doctorate degree in Humanities, with an emphasis in English literature, from Clark Atlanta University.
Keisha J. Kelley, CEO of BlackCollegeExperience Keisha J. Kelly has developed her passion for sports in the early 2000s when she was a member of the game day fan interaction team for now defunct NBDL team, Huntsville Flight. Kelley soon after started vounteering with The Amobi Okoye Foundation during the summer where she assisted with registration for summer football camps for the community. In 2011, she relocated to Atlanta, GA, where she began a short stint with a sports radio station.
In 2014, Kellz, as she is referred to on radio, returned to radio, as she began a career with PQ Sports Radio, where she joined multiple co-hosts for a Wednesday night weekly sports show. She later hosted PQ Sports Radio, as well as co-hosted Double Coverage Divas on Sunday evenings at 7pm with Talk2me Sports Radio.
In 2016, Kelley founded BlackCollegeExperience, the sports podcast that brings positive exposure to athletes at HBCUs, due to lack of positive news or media coverage that HBCUs receive. Her first co-host, Crystal Bennett, is a graduate of FAMU. Later, MVSU graduate Derrick Thomas joined her as co-host and is currently co-hosting the podcast. Kelley, also worked with Rodney Bryant on a Facebook Live sports segment titled: Still Brewing. BlackCollegeExperience has covered many events including, the Black College Football Hall of Fame Enshrinement, Bayou Classic, MEAC/SWAC Challenge, Magic City Classic, Gulf Coast Challenge, HBCU Spirit of America Bowl, Tee Up Atl, National Tennis Championsho, NBPA Top 50 Players from SIAC/SWAC as well as media days, career days, etc. She also serves as a sport mentor with GladiatHers Sports.
Dr. Shawn Joseph, President of Joseph and Associates LLC and Assistant Professor/Co-Director of Urban Superintendent Academy Dr. Shawn Joseph’s passion for equity and social justice has ked him to serve in a number of positions in the world in education. He has been an Englis teacher, school administrator, central office administrator, and superintendent in Maryland, Delaware, and Tennessee. His most recent work as the superintendent of Metro Nashville Public Schools (Director of Schools), resulted in schools that became more equitable as the district saw accelerated growth for all student groups in both reading and mathematics Pre-K through grade 5. In addition, the number of students at the high school level completing advanced coursework doubled, the number of students earning industry certifications nearly doubled while suspensions dramatically were reduced and new initiatives like STEAM were implemented at both the elementary and secondary level.
Dr. Joseph’s work has garnered him numerous honors and awards and he humbly serves on numerous local and international boards. Some of them include being honored as the Met-Life Middle School Principle of the Year for the State of Maryland in 2008. In 2010, Dr. Joseph was the recipient of the American Educational Research Association’s Outstanding Dissertation Award in the area of Educational Leadership. He was awarded the Ambassador Andrew Young Leadership Award in 2016. In 2018, both Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. and Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Inc. honored him with the Environmental Leadership Award and the Community Impact Award. In 2019, Dr. Joseph was selected as the Person of the Year by the Tribune Newspaper in Nashville and was the recipient of the Greater Nashville Association of Black School Educator’s Trailblazer Award. Dr. Joseph serves on the Board of Learning Forward, an international organization focused on ensuring equity and excellence in teaching and learning through building the capacity of leaders to establish and sustain highly effective professional learning.
His first book, The Principal’s Guide to the First 100 Days of the School Year: Creating Instructional Momentum, offers insight into the complexity of the princial-ship and suggests strategies for focusing on increasing student achievement. He is currently completing the manuscript for Finding the Joseph Within: Lessons Learned from a Life of Struggle which shares insight into how keeping focused on God’s mission for your life results in him releasing his favor over your life. Dr. Joseph earned a doctoral degree in educational administration and policy studies from The George Washington University and a master’s degree from The Johns Hopkins University. His bachelor’s degree is from Lincoln University, Pennsylvania, America’s oldest Historically Black College. Dr. Joseph joined the faculty of The Graduate School of Education at Fordham University, NY, serving as a Visiting Associate Professor of Education Administration and Policy Studies in 2019. In 2020, Dr. Joseph accepted a tenure track position at Howard University’s Graduate School of Education in the Educational Leadership Department, and he will Co-Direct the Urban Superintendent Academy in collaboration with the AASA, the Superintendent Association.
Tiffany Greene, Play-by-Play Commentator, College Sports Tiffany Greene is a play-by-play commentator for ESPN, covering a variety of collegiate sports including basketball, football, softball and volleyball. She is the first African-American woman to serve as a play-by-play commentator for college football on ESPN.
Greene has called a number of postseason games including the NCAA Women’s Division I Basketball Tournament, NCAA Softball Regional and Super Regionals, as well as NCAA Volleyball Regionals.
Green orginially began working with ESPN as a college football sideline reporter in 2022. She has since worked on the Women’s College World Series, Air Force Reserve Bowl on ABC on multiple Bowl games.
Prior to ESPN, Green honed her skills as a play-by-play announcer and sports reporter at Bright House Sports Network in the Orlando and Tampa Bay markets. During that time, she was the play-by-play announcer for inaugural season of BIG EAST women’s basketball on Fox Sports 1.
Greene is a member of Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc., Links Incorporated and the National Association of Black Journalists. She began her on-air career in 2004 as a one-man band reporter at WJCL/WTGS, and later, WTOC, in Savannah, Ga.
Greene earned her Bachelor’s degree in Broadcast Journalism from the Florida A&M University. She serves as the FAMU School of Journalism & Graphic Communication Board of Visitors co-chair.
Jarrel Strong, President and CEO of HBCU Mister and Miss Jarrel Strong is a Class of 2018 alumnus from the Nation’s First Degree-Granting HBCU, Lincoln University of Pennsylvania and hails all the way from Miami, Florida. During Jarrel’s undergraduate career he had the distinct honor of being named 2017-2018 Mister Legacy on the University’s Royal Court serving alongside Miss Legacy, Mister & Miss Lincoln University, and Mister & Miss Orange & Blue. Serving on the Royal Court granted him with multiple amazing opportunities including networking with other HBCUs Campus Kings and Queens, Networking with Former Kings and Queens of Lincoln University, and gaining the overall experience of being a campus King. Because of his amazing experience as a King, he wanted those that were given the same opportunity to have a similar experience and more. HBCU Mister and Miss was created to assist HBCU undergraduate students with leadership development, organizational skills and more.
Dawn Thornton, Women’s Basketball Head Coach, University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff Head Coach Dawn Thornton enters her third season with the Lady Lions in 2020-21, brining a revitalized, competitive spirit to the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) women’s basketball program.
During the 2019-20 season, Thornton, a 13-year coaching veteran commonly known as “Diva Coach,” inherited a program consisting of four freshman and four transfers; yet, led the team to outperform the preseason poll that picked UAPB to finish last in the SWAC. Under Thornton’s leadership, the Lady Lions tripled their SWAC win total from the previous season and qualified for the conference tournament for the first time since the 2017-2018 season.
Thornton mentored freshman center, Nissa Sam-Grant, who in her first season donning a Lady Lions jersey, emerged as one of the most electrifying newcomers in the SWAC. Sam-Grant finished the season fourth in the conference with 1.5 blocks per game.
Coach Thornton was named the Lady Lion’s head coach in May of 2019. Prior to leading the Lady Lions, Thornton spent the previous season as the lead assistant coach of Atlantic Sun Conference perennial power, Jacksonville University. After a late start in August of 2017, Thornton served as head coach at Division II Shorter University where, in one season, she led the surge from last in all major statistical categories to the middle of the conference and developed the Northwest Georgia Player of the Year.
From 2014 to 2016, Thornton served as the head coach at Prairie View, capturing the program’s fourth consecutive SWAC Tournament title and NCAA Tournament berth in 2014 while being honored as the HBCU Digest Female Coach of the Year. On Thornton’s watch, Prairie View posted wins over Memphis, Houston, Louisiana Tech, Sam Houston State, Nicholls State, and Lamar University and complied a 12.2 record in SWAC Tournament play. Thornton served as associate head coach at Prairie View from 2012 to 2014, where the team won three consecutive SWAC Tournament titles and three NCAA Tournament berths.
Thornton received her Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology from Jackson State University in 2005, where she helped lead the Lady Tigers basketball team to a SWAC Regular Season Co-Championship during her junior and senior years. She played her first two seasons at Atlanta Metropolitan College where she led the team to consecutive GJCAA Tournament appearances.
An active member of the coaching community, Thornton holds membership in the NCAA Women’s Basketball Coaches Association. Throughout her coaching career, she has participated in a myriad professional development opportunities including, Nike Championship Basketball Coaching Clinics, Felecia Hall Allen’s Next Level Symposium and the WNBA’s Chicago Sky and Pokey Chapman Training Camp. Thornton has been featured on several platforms including, Servant Leadership, focusing on navigating athletics during a pandemic while maintaining spiritual, emotional, physical and mental wellness.
Throughout her coaching career, Thornton, a member of Delta Sigma Theta Sorority, Incorporated, and Order of the Eastern Star, has had a large impact in every community in which she has coached. She established the Dawn Thornton Basketball Skillz Clinic, which helps the development of children through education and athletics. Additionally, she was involved in numerous community service projects at all of her coaching stops. In addition to the growth she has facilitated on the court throughout her career, Coach Thornton and her staff have instilled an importance on community engagement both through service and via dialogue with fans and supporters.
Adriel Hilton, Vice Chancellor for Student Affairs and Enrollment Management, Southern University at New Orleans Adriel Hilton is vice chancellor for student affairs and enrollment management at Southern University at New Orleans. He previously served as dean of students and diversity officer at Seton Hill University in Greenburg, Pennsylvania, where he provide strategic leadership and direction to the office of Housing and Residential Life, Community Standards, First Year & Transition Programs, Diversity & Inclusion, and International Student Services.
Hilton is an avid scholar. As a Frederick Douglass Teaching Scholar at Clarion University in Pennsylvania, he taught and developed academic programs within the Office of the Provost. Previously, he served as ta first public policy fellow at the Greater Baltimore Committee, a leading regional organization comprised of civic and business leaders in Baltimore, Maryland. While there, Hilton worked closely with advisers to research, develop, and advocate a public policy agenda to advance the organization’s work in various areas, including access to health care.
A profilic author and researcher, Hilton’s research is published in refereed journals, such as the Teachers College Record, Journal of College Student Development, Community College Review, Community College Journal of Research and Practice, Journal of Applied Research in the Community College, and the Journal of the Professoriate. His numerous service commitments include membership on the editorial boards of the renowned Journal of Negro Education and the highly acclaimed College Student Affairs Journal.
Hilton holds a Bachelor of Arts degree in Business Administration, with a concentration in finance from Morehouse College; a Master of Applied Science degree, with a concentration in public administration from Florida A&M University; a Master of Business Administration degree from Webster University; and a PhD in higher education, with a concentration in administration, from Morgan State University.
Henry J. Henderson III, Senior Manager – Medical Science Liaison-Oncology, Foundation Medicine Dr. Henry J. Henderson, III is a cancer biologist and health-promotion advocate. Currently, he is a Senior Manager, Medical Science Liaison-Oncology at Foundation Medicine. He is also the co-founder of “Black in Cancer.” A organization that strengthen networks and highlight Black Excellence in cancer research and medicine.
He earned his Ph.D. in integrative Biosciences from Tuskegee University; and a Bachelor of Science in Animal Science from Southern University. Henderson did his Postdoctoral Research at Vanderbilt University-Ingram Cancer Center. His research focused on understanding non-small cell lung cancel and improving therapeutic strategies targeting oncogenic mutations in Epidermal Growth Factor Receptor (EGFR) tyrosine kinase domain with a particular focus on mechanisms of sensitivity and resistance to agents used in clinical practice.
Monique Carroll, Ph.D., Director of Intercollegiate Athletics, Chicago State University Dr. Monique Carroll was named Chicago State University’s Director of Intercollegiate Athletics on July 28, 2022. She joined the Cougars after serving as the athletic director at Huston-Tillotson University since March 2020.
Prior to her time at Huston-Tilltoson, Carroll was the Deputy Athletic Director for Internal Operations and Senior Woman Administrator at South Carolina State University. In that role, she served as the sport administrator for 10 sports. In addition to serving as a sport administrator, Carroll oversaw various units including, business operations, compliance, academics, strength and conditioning, sports medicine, ticketing, sports information, and game day operations.
Prior to South Carolina State, Carroll served a nine-year stint at Prairie View A&M University in various roles. In her last role as Associate Athletic Director for External Operations her duties included overseeing all external functions of Panther Athletics, including fundraising, game operations, ticket operations, and sponsorships and advertising. Prior to her arrival at PVAMU, Carroll served as the Coordinator of Student-Athlete Services/Compliance Assistant for the SWAC.
Carroll got her state in intercollegiate athletics as a compliance volunteer at the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB). Carroll was a three-sport athlete as she was a member of UAPB volleyball, track and field, and bowling teams. Carroll also attended Langston University where she was a member of the track and field team.
Carroll’s recognitions and organizational memberships include NCAA Division I National SAAC Representative for the SWAC, NCAA Committee on Women’s Athletics, NCAA Effective Facilitation workshop, Women Leaders in College Sports, NAAC, and BWSF, and Zeta Phi Bet Sorority, Inc.
A native of New Boston, Texas, Carroll received her Bachelor of Science in Secondary Health and Physical Education from Arkansas-Pine Bluff (UAPB), a Master’s of Sports Science in Sports Management at the United States Sports Academy in Daphne, Ala, and a Doctor of Education with an emphasis in sports management from Northcentral University.
Tim Lampkin, Founder and CEO, Higher Purpose Co Tim Lampkin is the Founder and CEO of Higher Purpose Co, a 501c3 economic justice nonprofit building community wealth with Black business owners across Mississippi by supporting the ownership of financial, cultural, and political power.
Lampkin has over a decade of community development and entrepreneurship experience. He previously managed the Racial Equity Program for the Mississippi Humanities Council, which won the national 2018 Schwartz Prize. Lampkin has also worked for Southern Bancorp Community Partners to implement mutli-million community initiatives and has advised rural entrepreneurs in several counties served by Delta State University. The Mississippi Business Journal selected Lampkin as one of the 2019 Top Entrepreneurs in the state. Ashoka selected him as the first person in Mississippi for the lifetime social impact fellowship.
He serves as President of Lampkin Impact Ventures, LLC providing economic justice advising, impact speaking, and creative digital content. Lampkin serves on the board of the Cooperative Food Empowerment Directive and the Mississippi Humanities Council. He previously served on the Federal Reserve Bank of St. Louis Community Development Advisory Council and the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Consumer Advisory Board (CAB).
Lampkin completed the Authentic Leadership Executive Program at Harvard University. He is a proud graduate of Mississippi Valley State University (MVSU) and has completed graduate studies at Delta State University, Bellevue University, and the University of Arkansas.
I wanted to inform you of the advocacy efforts that our organization does in support of students, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), and Minority-Serving Institutions (MSIs) 365 days of the year. Everyday, HCF tirelessly advocate for the better future of students, HBCUs, and MSIs as we continue to strengthen our role as leading advocates in the space of higher education.
We’d love to hear why you choose to support HCF. You can share your reasons on social media using the hashtag #HCFILoveMyHBCU. We will share some of the heartwarming #HCFILoveMyHBCU stories on our social media pages.
We thank you so much for your support. Your support and contributions only helps to strengthen our mission further each and every day, and continues the long-lasting fight to Campaign For HBCUs. Whether you serve on staff, volunteered, donated, or read or shared our content, it’s much appreciated. Because We Are HBCUs!
Warms Regards, Demetrius Johnson, Jr. Founder, President & CEO
This month, Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) institutions – Spelman College, Dillard University, Hampton University, and Southern University officially welcomed their selected presidents to their campuses to begin their presidential tenures.
Spelman College, America’s oldest private HBCU liberal arts college for women, announced the selection of Helene Gayle, a globally recognized public health leader, in April 2022. Dr. Gayle previously led The Chicago Community Trust, one of the nation’s oldest and largest community foundations. In a 3-minute welcome introduction video, Dr. Gayle thanks the Spelman and Atlanta community for the warm welcome to campus and congratulatory messages received. Additionally, she addressed that she is prepared to collaborate with crucial partners, identify strategic priorities, solve critical issues and forget new opportunities for the college.
Dr. Gayle succeeded Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., who served a seven-year tenure as Spelman’s 10th president.
“I’m excited about Dr. Gayle’s appointment and confident that her demonstrated ability to address complex issues in communities of color many of which involve the strength of Black females and her success factors, coupled with her commitment to equity, will further build on Spelman’s legacy and propel the College into the future,”said Rosalind G. Brewer, Spelman College Board Chair.
Meanwhile, on Dillard University’s Avenue of the Oaks, madam president and Howard University alumnae Dr. Rochelle Ford has presented the campus with her charismatic elegance. Dillard selected Dr. Ford as the eighth president, succeeding Dr. Walter M. Kimbrough.
Ford previously served as dean of Elon University’s School of Communications. Before that, she served as Syracuse University’s Provost faculty fellow. The dynamics in her have her already hitting the ground running, and as Dr. Ford mentioned during an interview with Higher Ed Drive, she plans to meet people and listen to what they’re excited about. She wants to know what they believe is possible to ensure Dillard’s sustainability for generations to come.
“Students, faculty, and trustees were blown away by her insight, passion and drive. As impressive as Dillard has been over the past 150 years in producing history makers and change agents, there is no questions that, under Dr. Ford’s leadership, the best is yet to come,”said Michael D. Jones, Esq., Chair of Dillard’s Board of Trustees.
Two more presidents have begun their roles at HBCUs and are succeeding retiring presidents. Darrell K. Williams to lead Hampton University and Dennis J. Shields will lead the way at the only university system known to HBCUs, the Southern University System. President-Chancellor Shields will also lead the main campus in Baton Rouge (Southern University and A&M College). His previous experience has been in higher education outside of the HBCU space. So during his 100 days, he is expected to understand his dual role as President-Chancellor and the HBCU experience. His plans focus primarily on student outcomes (retention, graduate rates, and first-time employment), community engagement, and stakeholder involvement.
Dr. Shields previously served as the chancellor of the University of Wisconsin Platteville since 2010.
On the other hand, Hampton University also hired a male successor for Dr. William R. Harvey, alumnus Ret. U.S. Army Gen. Darrell K. Williams. With background as an educator with nonprofit development experience, Williams says that his focus will be creating an unparalleled higher education experience for students that includes excellent academics, support for strong physical, emotional, and mental health, and access to cutting-edge technology, research opportunities and innovative students.
“I love Hampton and the opportunities provided to me here. The university’s values and standard of excellence will not change. As the new president, my priority will be providing our students with a robust experience that is second to none and prepares them for life after graduation,”said Williams.
Williams retired from the U.S. Army in 2020 after 37 years of service. His last leadership position was as the first Black and 19th director of the Department of Defense’s Defense logistics Agency (DLA). He oversaw a global workforce of over 26,000 civilian and military professionals. He comes to Hampton from Fortune 250 technology company Leidos, where he served as the global organization’s United Kingdom vice president and managing director of the U.K. Ministry of Defense Logistics Commodities and Services Transformation (LCST) programme, providing global logistical support to U.K. military forces.
HCF welcomes all four of them to leadership at the helm of their designated colleges and universities and expresses our profound and heartfelt congratulations on their appointment. We appreciate their leadership and wish them the very best throughout their tenures.
The HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) tirelessly advocates for the future of students, HBCUs, and MSIs as we continue to strengthen our role as leading advocates in the space of higher education. However, to continue the necessary work, we urge for your continued support and generosity to reach our demanding goals.
With a heavy heart, I am saddened to share the news of the passing of Mississippi Civil Rights icon Meredith C. Anding, Jr., who died Friday at the age of 79. He was an active member of the NAACP, where he worked closely with Medgar Evers.
In 1961, Anding was one of the nine students, who were undergraduates at Tougaloo College, and staged sit-ins at the all-white Jackson Main Library in Jackson, Mississippi. Prior to the sit-ins, African Americans were prohibited from using the city’s main library. The nine students were members of the Jackson Youth Council of the NAACP. Medgar Evers, who was then president of the Jackson branch of the NAACP, trained them for the sit-in protest.
The group was later known as the Tougaloo Nine. We indeed are indebted to Mr. Meredith Anding Jr., James S. Bradford, Alfred L. Cook, Geraldine Edwards, Janice Jackson, Joseph Jackson Jr., Albert E. Lassiter, Evelyn Pierce, and Ethel Sawyer for the bravery sacrifices that they have made towards injustice in this country, and the continued equality for African Americans today.
Please join me in offering sincere condolences to his family and the Touglooo College community during this sorrowful time.
2020 has been one of the most challenging years in HBCU Campaign Fund’s (HCF) history for advocating for students and HBCUs. Yet, because of your support, we were still able to institute and campaign for HBCUs.
You have helped make all the difference. Without your generosity, none of this is possible.
Please celebrate with us – enjoy this lookat our brief Year in Review showing the impact and difference you help make possible.
And when you take a look, know that your gift today will accomplish so much more good in 2021, because there’s still so much to do to help students and advocate for HBCUs and MSIs.
When you help today, your donation will work twice as hard to help to continue the work that we do at HCF – consider donating before December 31st. Thank you for your continued support and generosity!
What is missing from the piece of a long record of historically black college and university (HBCU) credentials is the hidden history of Saints Industrial and Literary School. The campus remains still stands present in Lexington, Mississippi. It all started when the founder and first president, Dr. Arenia Cornelia Mallory, was invited by Charles Harrison Mason to serve as a music teacher at a local religious school for black students in Lexington, Mississippi.
Later, she organized five singers and toured them to raise money for the school. She then developed a larger school chorus, named the Jubilee Harmonizers, who traveled and became nationally famous. They eventually performed at the White House for President Franklin D. and Eleanor Roosevelt. Their touring helped to raise funding for what become known as the Saints Industrial and Literary School. The institution was a secondary private school for students in grades 1-12. It was later renamed and called Saints Academy. She educated an estimated of 20,000 students through Saints.
The affiliation of the school is with the Pentecostal Church of God in Christ (COGIC); Mallory served as its president from 1926 until 1977. In 1975, she was recognized as the only black college woman president. The campus was developed to have classrooms and dormitories, and a junior college department was produced before 1963. Mallory’s intention was to established high standards for Christian behavior and education. Through the decades, she led the students by integrating public schools and the broadening role for blacks after the passage of civil rights legislation. Mallory helped developed many African-American leaders through her mission.
The institution was once notable for its inclusion in a landmark federal case, Coffey v. State Educational Finance Commission (1969) that challenged the state of Mississippi’s tuition grant program for segregated schools. Saint was the only private school to receive state aid for black children. Grants covered 80% of Saint’s tuition cost in the 1967-1968 school year.
Mallory was a charter member of the NCNW, which national leader and school president Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune founded. Because of their relationship, Mallory had open access to the White House. She extended the opportunity to present her work with Saints Industrial School to President Eleanor Roosevelt and the first lady, singing for them. In 1963, she was appointed to serve in President John F. Kennedy’s administration.
Through her status with Saints Industrial and with her civic activities, Mallory promoted her advocacy for the Black and poor sharecroppers in Mississippi and for the Civil Rights Movement. In 1968, she was the first woman and person of color to be elected to the Holmes County Board of Education. In 1974, she was elected to a second term.
Mallory was an active member of the Church of God in Christ Women’s Department, where she was a church leader. She cemented her significance to the Women’s Department and made the outreaches that were crucial for the next generations. Mallory’s friendship with Mary Bethune brought in new ideas to the Women’s Department. She served from 1952-1955 on the board of directors of the Regional Council of Negro Leadership, a pro-self help civil rights organization led by T. R. M. Howard from Mound Bayou, Mississippi.
Mallory’s leadership and work were featured in the May 1963 issue of The Crisis Magazine with the front page article written about her entitled “Mississippi Mud”. The Crisis article lauded her citing “Florida has its Mary McLeod Bethune, North Carolina has its Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Mississippi has its Arenia Corenia Mallory, who, out of Mississippi mud has made it possible for children born, or yet unborn, to have a better heritage then chopping cotton.”
After Mallory’s retirement and death, followers tried to keep the school going, but the Delta’s population had declined as many families moved north or to larger cities. They were unable to succeed, and the school closed in 2006. In 2018, the Church of God in Christ (COGIC) invested in reopening the Saints campus. The campus was reopened, and its mission to train saints who will impact the world. Over $500,000 in renovations have been completed on the campus, and it is now a state-of-the-art facility where saints of all ages are welcome.
Saints’ history falls back as late as 1926 and typically qualifies for the designation of HBCU status. However, the institution’s accreditation is questionable as to why it may be jeopardized from receiving such status. HBCUs were established prior to 1964, whose principal mission was, and is, the education of black Americans, and that is accredited by a nationally recognized accrediting agency or association determined by the Secretary of Education to be reliable authority as to the quality of training offered or is, according to such an agency or association, making reasonable progress toward accreditation.
Thank you for all you’ve done to support higher education with us throughout 2020. It has been a challenging year, but because of your support, HCF has never stopped advocating for students, HBCUs, and MSIs during these unprecedented times. So many of them have milestones to celebrate this holiday season, thanks to you.
With your help, our advocacy will go a lot further in 2021 when assisting students and supporting higher education. Doing what we do requires a great deal of generosity and dedication with a hand from passionate supporters like you. Without you, setting forth dreams cannot be made possible. When you give to HCF, your generosity works twice as hard and will significantly impact the work that we do.
As an HBCU Campaigner, you help change the lives of brilliant young people who are shaped into scholars determined to stay in college and succeed to become achievers. You help HBCU and Minority-Serving Institutions to stay open and continue providing a high-quality education to their specific populations. Please consider making a year-end contribution to allow HCF to push even further and help more students, HBCUs, and MSIs who need us most.
Thank you for joining the continued fight to Campaign for HBCUs!
All of us at the HBCU Campaign Fund (HCF) wish you and your families all the best this holiday season. On this Thanksgiving Day, we thank you for supporting the higher education community in making such a remarkable difference to ensure students accomplish their educational goals.
Every day, we are profoundly grateful for the grace of God, for his presence with us, and the many ways he is at work among us. We give thanks for the ways he has led us, sustained us, preserved us, and ignited us with his everlasting love.
I am thankful for the vision and advocacy that he has given in the light of making HCF an impact on higher education and others who we can encourage to fulfill their dreams. Nonetheless, I am thankful for the opportunity to be a part of such a prominent organization.
During this holiday season, let us take time out from our daily tasks and duties to say thanks and reflect on the moments that we are thankful for. I want to take the opportunity to express my appreciation to our supporters and those who have invested in HCF’s mission. Your involvement is the richness to our community and strengthens our role as leading advocates in the space.
As you spend Thanksgiving Day traditionally with your families, please raise your glass for all of the accomplishments we have achieved together campaigning for HBCUs this year. Even so, know that you have been a part of making a real difference in the lives of HBCU students, HBCUs, MSIs, and the HBCU Campaign Fund, as well as those that need us most.
May your Thanksgiving be filled with joy and peace. Season’s greetings to everyone!
Demetrius Johnson, Jr. President and CEO, Founder HBCU Campaign Fund