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History

Updated April 3, 2014
 

 

A Thumbnail Sketch | Presidents | Gulf Coast | African-American History | Prominent Buildings and Features | Resilence

 How it all Began
 Overview
How it all Began
Champions of Mississippi Normal College began their fight for the creation of a normal college in 1877. Finally, in 1906, the first normal college bill was introduced but died in the hostile House Education Committee. After a second normal college bill died in 1908, State Superintendent of Education J.N. Powers turned to T.P. Scott, then head of Brookhaven city schools and an active member of the Mississippi Teachers Association (MTA), to organize a campaign in support of a third bill, House Bill 204, which Rep. Marshall McCullough intended to introduce in 1910. The ensuing battle for Mississippi Normal College was described by the Jackson Daily News as "one of the greatest legislative fights of the decade."
Since 1901, Scott had been sending an endless stream of mimeographed letters to county superintendents of education and newspaper editors throughout the state, asking for their support for the MTA and for the general interest of education in Mississippi. In 1908, he focused his efforts on the enemies of Bill 203, who soon found themselves besieged with letters, phone calls, telegrams and editorials from all parts of Mississippi, urging establishment of the normal college. Eventually, the statewide interest caused by all of the publicity helped "crystallize sentiment in the membership of the House," Scott later wrote.
When the time came for the bill to be introduced to the House, Speaker H.M. Street asked the Honorable A.C. Anderson of Ripley, an enthusiastic supporter of the measure, to take his place while he smoked his afternoon cigar in the cloakroom. Anderson had no sooner taken the gavel than McCullough called up the normal college bill. After a number of pro and con speeches and the adoption of an amendment striking out the word "state" and the appropriation clause from the bill, the measure was passed by a vote of 59 yeas and 39 nays. The Senate promptly passed the bill for establishment of the college, and it was signed by Gov. Edmund Noel and became law on March 30, 1910.

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