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  • Vernalee


By Vernalee

Hailing from a small town in the Mississippi Delta, notably my home of Glen Allan, was a man of tremendous courage who fought for equal rights. A classic orator, this Civil Rights Activist was a courageous man named Jake Ayers. He changed the landscape in Glen Allan for poor Black people. In an effort to stop equality, a cross was burned in Mr. Ayers’ yard that ignited his gas tank and set his house ablaze with his children and wife inside. But Mr. Ayers locally referred to as “Spike” kept fighting.

Concerned about education, he filed a landmark case that took years to come to fruition, but it opened so many doors for Black children being educated. Allow me to introduce you to the landmark Ayers Case. Here’s the story.

“Three of Mississippi's historically black colleges and universities—Alcorn State, Jackson State and Mississippi Valley State—had a lot to gain back in 1975 when Jake Ayers filed a lawsuit against the state in order to improve academic programs and facilities at the state's three public HBCUs. The class-action lawsuit, which includes all black citizens residing in Mississippi, spans more than 25 years. Decades of legal disputes and botched agreements later, in 2001, the U.S. Department of Justice, which got involved on behalf of Ayers and the plaintiffs, and the State came to a $500-million settlement agreement.” There is so much more to tell. Let this case be an encouragement of the vision of the fight.

We salute you Mr. Ayers for fighting on the behalf of Black children to have a better education!

This is significant in light of the fact that in 2024, the state of Mississippi is considering closing its 3 HBCU‘s. What a tragedy that would be! Photo Credit:; Reference: The Jackson Free Press

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