Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Tell us the history of Jackson!

We have been getting some great feedback from all of you and we are hearing some stories that are unwrapping the "real" Jackson. For those of you we haven't heard from, here's your chance!

Post a story here that you think explains or contributed to the development of Jackson as it is today.


Ellis Hays said...

West Jackson: Invisible History

I was raised in the historic Battlefield Park area of Jackson, Mississippi (a potential battle site during the Civil War). When many other people speak derogatory about my hometown I am always defensive of the city’s image. The media always portrays the negative things in life because it gains ratings, and the positive things always play second fiddle in the media industry. There is a street that I have traveled on many occasions, it ran and still runs through the historic Washington Addition area through Jackson State University. I never realized what significance this street had until I became older and became more inquisitive about history. This early aforementioned street is called J.R. Lynch St. It was named in honor of John R. Lynch. Mr. Lynch was the first African American “Speaker of the House” in the State of Mississippi; in addition he was one of the first African Americans elected to the United States House of Representatives. In light of the political happenings going on now where most of the African Americans living in the state of Mississippi vote Democratic. Mr. Lynch was a Republican. Most well to do black voters voted Republican. It wasn’t until F.D.R. created the New Deal Act that most blacks started to affiliate themselves with the Democratic Party. The high school that I attended (Jim Hill High School) was the first secondary school founded by its namesake for African Americans. Despite the numerous amounts of bad things that are happening in my city there are people like me that want people to love my city just like I do. History should not be stereotyped.
By: Ellis Hays II

Brad Dubose III said...

West Jackson is full of history. But over the years the history has been over ran by senseless acts of violence. I do agree that the media does blow crime in Jackson out of proportion and does not help the city's image. But violence sells. I am a 48 years old white male who has lived in South Jackson my whole life. I do agree that the city has deteriorated but their are still a lot of hard working people that still care about the city. Hopefully with a little TLC Jackson can get back on track to being the GREAT CITY that I once known.

Ellis good ANGLE with comment...

Eric said...

"Today I got the luxury of viewing one of Jackson's hidden gems—the old Central High School on West St. Let me start off by saying just how blown away I was at the beauty of the building. The old school was bursting with history and probably had more stories to tell than I could ever have time to listen to. Just seeing all the old pictures and newspaper articles on display made me realize just how much went on in the 50 years the building spent as a high school. I could feel the history. It was that powerful.

The school did pique my interest in the sense that, why does Jackson seem to hide away buildings like this? The old high school has become the headquarters for the Mississippi Department of Education—so at least they didn't just tear it down. I don't want to criticize the renovation of the building (its not too shabby), but what I'm trying to understand is why doesn't Jackson take advantage of places like this? Reopening the school for high school students not only brings in that many more people to the heart of the city every day, but it opens up a whole new market for after-school activities and businesses. Imagine if there were coffee shops all around the school, patronized by businessmen and congressmen during the mornings, and students leaving school in the afternoons! Downtown wouldn't know what to do with all that activity!

The point is that Jackson has so much hidden history and potential to revive the glory days, that most people can't see it on the surface. I'm starting to think that people can't see it because Jackson is either too afraid to show it, or too scared that the past won't help them learn and build for the future. Maybe it's just that the history has been torn down and forgotten. But just remember, Jackson, that this city's potential will never go away. It's just a matter of harnessing it.

Jackson just needs a few more pieces to fall into place for downtown to become a world-class neighborhood. I for one would love to be able to hear students at CJHS to once again cheer for their tigers..."