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[Singing] Mississipi, your shadows are dancing in the sunlight that's bright as a smile. Merry winds in the shade of a willow. Kiss the face of my beautiful child. Mississippi, [inaudible singing] leaving. Your rivers are deep with delight. Your sunrise surprises me sleeping. Your sunset it soothes me for night. Mississippi, your children are watching. They look for their answers in you. Their history lives in your memory.
They give you their futures too. Mississipi, your music is my song, Take my hand, so I never will roam. Hold me close to your fields and your meadows. You're my land and I want to stay home. [Speaking] First there was the land, green and rich, a vast land of infinite variety. Large rivers. Piney woods, lush deltas, the red clay of the east. Rolling Prairie Country and a sandy
Gulf Coast. And then came the Indians. Prehistoric mound builders whose life and beliefs are known only through a few remaining Temple Mounds and Nature. The Choctaws. Chickasaws. Natchez. Biloxi, Pascagoula. Yazoo. And other tribes. They cleared the fields and tamed the forest. And centuries passed. Then in the 15th century, white man discovered the new land. They came in search of wealth. They came to conquer and to claim. They came in the name of France, in the name of England, in the name of Spain. And finally, in 1798, in the name of the United States of America. The lower part of the state was opened up and settlers poured in.
[Singing] The river marks the west side, as faster waters flow. And from the south, there comes the tide, the Gulf of Mexico. They say the fields are rich with crop, sunny days that never stop. Sparkling water for the taking, money boys for the making. Then come along, come along, make no delay. Come from every nation, come from everyway. The lands they are broad enough, don't be alarmed. For Mississipp is rich enough to give us all a farm. Oh, come up the river, man, by whatever means you make, flat boat [inaudible], or steamer or flat foot or open trade. Oh go, the well marked highwaymen. They set a rugged pace, the Natchez path, Three Chopt Road, Gaines Road, Gaines Trace. Then come along! Come along! Make no delay! Come from every nation, come from everyway. The lands they are broad enough, don't be alarmed. For Mississipp is rich enough to give us all a farm. From the eastern seaboard cradle, where the states began to dawn, from Tennessee or Kentucky, it doesn't matter where you're born. You'll settle the land together, oh by valor and by arms. Then come along! Come along! Make no delay! Come from every nation, come from everyway. You'll cover broad green acres with the nation's finest farms. The lands they are broad enough, don't be alarmed. For Mississipp is rich enough to give us all a farm.
[speaking] They settled little towns and communities all over the state and named them fancifully. Some with the exotic and new sounds of the Indian tongue. Agricola, Alligator, Pascagoula, Noxapater, arkabutla, Itta Bena, Bogue Chitto, Sylvarena, Eastabuchie, Buckatunna, Escatawpa, Nitta Yuma, Okolona,Tillatoba, Pelahatchie, Toccopola. Others were named for the man who settled there, Bruce, Kerry, Crosby, Duncan, Phillip, Lamar, Lucian, Drew, Dennis, Quentin, Rodney, Russell, Scott, Taylor, Vance, Vann, Wayne. Others for their women folk - Caledonia. Verona. Clara. Lesley. Lula. Theba. Elizabeth. Etta. Vioula. Bonita, Flora. Florence. Pearl. Ulma. Louise. Ruth. Sara. Sharon. And. Darling. And some towns were named for their preoccupation - Money, Reform, Grace Rich, Enterprise, Liberty, Fountain,
Bourbon, Tipplersville. But we get ahead of our story. The Mississippi territory! This is our land, our land to shape. These are our children, young minds to shape. There must be schools, but these frontiersmen had enough to do. Providing food, clothing and shelter for their families. We reckon schools can wait. Sectional jealousy reinforced the status of education at the bottom of the priority ladder. The class struggle started early. Here in Natchez, our children are tutored at home. Education's no problem. Listen to what our recent visitor said about us. There are some families in the neighborhood of Natchez who live much in the style of the higher classes of England possessing polished manners and respectable literary accomplishments. Their houses are spacious and handsome, and the grounds are laid out like a forest park in the society of some of these families.
I passed a few days very agreeably and while listening to some of our own favorite melodies on the harp and piano forte, I could have fancied myself on the banks of the loon of the Mersey rather than on those of the Mississippi. The younger branches of many of these families have been educated, the young men at the colleges in the northern and eastern states and the young ladies in boarding schools in Philadelphia. A second group of early settlers we might call compulsory guests to the territory guests of the wealthy landowner. We are here from Africa, uprooted, enslaved, non-franchised. They gave us the trip and we do their work. What's that word you say? School. The third group of settlers came down from the Carolinas and Georgia. The relatively poor soil of the piney woods was not conducive to the large scale
profitable farming, as was the Natchez region. Sure, we drink hard and have some breakfast with when we're industrious and do our duty to God. Minister as he was, my father never doubted it was part of his Christian duty to knock down any rascal who happened to deserve such discipline. A man on a fear God and mind his business. He should be respectful and courteous to all women. He should love his friends and hate his enemies. He should eat when hungry. Drink when thirsty. Dance with merry. Vote for the candidate he likes best and knock down any man who questions his right to these privileges. Here in Natchez, we send our sons and daughters east for their schooling. Why should we support common schools with our money? Our groups got no money. Those Natchez snobs have all the cash and the political control. There's no hope for tax support for school. But the warring factions came together in 1817
and Mississippi became a State of the Union. [Singing] So now we've cast our lot with them, the other nineteen states. United States of America in sport becomes our fate. The homestead of the free, my boys, the homestead of the free. To make our state and keep our state the homestead of the free. The twentieth star goes on the field to shine for our good name. Mississippi, Mississippi will blaze a path to fame. The homestead of the free, my boys, the homestead of the free. To make our state and keep our state the homestead of the free.
Pay the taxes and earn the vote, salute the stars and bars. Say, can you see by dawn's early light? And march off to its wars. The homstead of the free, my boys, The homestead of the free to make our state and keep our state the homestead of the free. Magnolia shall our flower be, our bird the mockingbird. And Jackson town our capitol, where loud these words are heard. The homestead of the free, my boys, the homestead of the free. To make our state and keep our state the homestead of the free. [Speaking] The state's first constitution echoed the Northwest Ordinance.
Religion, morality and knowledge being necessary to good government, the preservation of liberty and the happiness of mankind. Schools and the means of education shall be forever encouraged in this state. It was to be sometime, however, before the state set about to build a system of public schools. It was the academy system that marked Mississippi's first attempts at educating its young. And it must be remembered that we are talking about it's white young now. As early as 1799, Governor Winthrop Sargent had instructed a Mr. Joshua Howard to find a suitable site for an academy, but there's no evidence that he did. Franklin Academy in Jefferson County was founded in 1807 and Madison Academy in Claiborne County in 1809. There were others, and by the time of statehood, nine academies had received state charters. In 1820,
shortly after we became a state, Governor, George Poindexter surveyed the schools of the state. Lawrence! There are almost no schools in this county. The few that are threatened with extinction because there's no money and no one cares about education. Franklin and Pike counties were not much better. Wayne County! We have six schools which teach reading, writing and arithmetic, and in two of them, Latin and Greek are also offered. Perry County! Greene County! It is with regret and mortification that I am compelled to tell you that there is no establishment within the precincts of Greene County, which deserves the ?application? of a seminary of learning for the education of youth. The scattered population, together with the lukewarm indifference of a considerable portion of the people of this section of the state are reason enough --
But statehood seem to give a boost to academy development, and they sprang up all over the state like mushrooms. One of these was the Elizabeth Female Academy. The first institution exclusively for women to be chartered by the state. Another was the Franklin Academy of Columbus, opened in 1821. This school was a free school and has been called for that reason the first public school in the state. Another academy of note was Hampstead Academy, established in Clinton in 1826, which later became Mississippi College. The most famous, perhaps, was Jefferson College, charted in 1802 and opened its doors in 1811 and which is currently being restored by the Mississippi Department of Archives and History. During the period from 1817, when we became a state, to 1860, approximately 200 academies were incorporated and at least 84 others operated
without charters. And through the years, terminology began to change. Some became known as institutes. Some were seminaries. Some were even called high schools. But a rose by any name. They were academies owned by individuals, by stock companies, or by religious groups. While the quality of work at these institutions varied from very good to very poor, it has to be said that meager education was much better than none at all. The academies met a definite educational need by providing the people with learning at a time when they felt that formal schooling was not a responsibility of the state. Besides, it brought reputable school teachers in to replace some of the freelance tutors, one of whom was described from a pulpit in Natchez. There lived not many years ago in one of the districts of South Carolina a professed believer
in the teachings of Paine's Age of Reason, who was duly arraigned before a court, not for not saying his prayers, but for shedding blood - not the blood of his fellow men, but the blood of his neighbor's hogs. For this offense, committed without fear of God before his eyes, and by the instigation of the devil, against the peace of society and the lives of hogs, but not his own. He was found guilty and sentenced to receive 39 lashes on his bare back at the district whipping post. After receiving the sheriff's receipt in full in cuts, gashes and cross marks and feeling somewhat disparaged in reputation and having now the fear of the rightful owners of said swearing before his eyes, he left the country for parts unknown. The next place we find him is in that celebrated school of
all forms of vice, Lord help us, called Natchez under the Hill, where he spent about three months in the history and the study of natural philosophy. Both his cash and credit was soon exhausted and he was ejected from the boarding house for nonpayment of dues. Thrown upon his own resources again, he assumed the profession of school teacher and the last place we find him, he is pretending to teach a little country school. The development of the academy system paralleled the prosperity of the state. In the flush times of the 1830s, academies flourished. Hard times in the 1840s saw a decline in the chartering of the academies, and when prosperity returned in the 1850s, so did the rate of academy development all along. Of course, as today and tomorrow and tomorrow's
tomorrow, the major concern was financing. Which brings us to that esoteric subject of remarkable history. The sixteenth section land. [singing] Oh, listen, my friends, to a tale of woe. It's hard to believe, but I'll tell you so. A 170 years gone past since Uncle Sam gave us a gift to last. That's sixteen sections oh, that's 16th sections, 16th sections, a Golden Goose never allowed to lay. Oh, that 16th section oh, oh, that's 16th section, 16th sections. A golden goose never allowed to lay. You'll need some money to raise your young. Here's a foolproof way to provide you some. 700,000 acres to lease to bring in money that'll never cease. Oh, that 16th section oh, oh, 16th sections. A golden goose never allowed to lay. Oh, that 16th section oh, that 16th section, 16th section is
a golden goose never allowed to lay. [speaking] The federal government gave us those sixteenth section lands in 1883 to sell or lease for the support of schools. With statehood we took those seven hundred thousand acres and let the county courts decide what to do with them. The lands were passed along from one agency to another, with no one doing much with them. Seemed too complicated to fool with at times. Some leases ran 12 years, some 99 years. The 1833 legislature figured out an answer. All the 16th section lands get leased for 99 years, with the moneys invested in capital stock of the Planter's Bank in Natchez. That a special interest group? Wouldn't call it that cause the biggest, richest landowners in our state legislature are the stockholders and planters.
Well, I guess they know what they're doing. But the bank failed at the end of the decade and all the money was lost. ? Familiaring department? Governor Brown's investigating the management of the 16th section lands in 1848. I hereby request a progress report on the management of 16th section funds. Let me say, Governor, that our management has brought us a considerable degree of success. Inefficiency, criminal negligence and downright dishonesty! The federal government gave us those 16th section lands to sell or lease for the support of schools. [Singing] Oh, that 16th section oh, that 16th section, 16th section, 16th section, a golden goose never allowed to lay. Oh that 16th section oh, that 16th section, 16th section is a golden goose never allowed to lay. But this is not an historic story. The twentieth century would produce a story of 16th section lands called Squander,
Misuse and Dissipation. A 1948 legislative investigating committee said, 'We regret that there has come to our attention. sales of timber from 16th sections school lands at such grossly inadequate prices as to constitute nothing more nor less than a donation of this land to private individuals.' And an attempt at reform failed. 1973. The average return to the schools on the 700,000 acres is three dollars five cents per acre a year. Some yes, some counties make only five cents per acre. Franklin recently was found to be leasing land for four tenths of a cent per acre. Wait, let me understand the possibilities. The feds gave us the land to make money for schools. We turn around and give it to some guy for a nickel an acre Then, he can turn around and get the feds to pay him for not doing anything with it.
Looks like the Fed would pay us plenty for all the years of not doing anything with it. I propose we lease all 16th section lands to teachers as supplement to their income. No! Look at Warren County. Since the Forestry Commission began to manage their lands in 1958, Warren County has made three quarters of a million dollars on their eighty eight hundred acres. But back to history. Along with 16th section money, the state created another source of money for school support, the literary fund. Here is Governor Poindexter to tell about it. I recommend legislation to aid the education of the poor and orphan white children of this state by earmarking all this cheap confiscations, fines and forfeitures for the purchase of books and materials and the paying of tuition for pupils of limited means. By 1833 the fund had an endowment of 50,000 dollars in 1826.
The governor was authorized to invest twelve thousand of the stock - in fund - in stock of the Bank of Mississippi. The Planter's Bank strikes again! (harmonica playing) Wealthy legislators with special interests in their own bank forced transfer of the entire literary fund to Planter's Bank stock in 1830. Now tell them what happened. The banks failed. The entire fund was lost. But the decade of the 1840s was a landmark in Mississippi educational history. The first state university, the first public school system. The Federal government gave us lands we could sell or lease for the creation of a seminary of learningy 1833, the fund was 8000 dollars and we sold the land that same year, over 227,000 thousand dollars. The entire fund was summarily deposited in the Planters Bank. [laugher]
And you know what happened. [Laughter] The crash was 1840, most of that money lost. But on February 20th, 1840, the legislature established the University of Mississippi. Seven sites were considered. Lewisville, Mississippi City, ?Oziesco? Brandon ?inaudible? Middleton! I cast my vote for Monroe Missionary Station. On the 7th vote. Oxford was the winner. And in 1848, Ole Miss opened. On the second Monday, in July next, the trustees of the University of Mississippi will proceed at the university buildings to elect five professors of the institution, one of whom will be president. The salaries, to the president 2,000 dollars to each of the other professors,
1,500 per annum in half yearly installments. The president will be professor of moral and mental philosophy, logic and rhetoric, and will be required to lecture on the evidence of Christianity. Must have been a stormy first year. Out of an enrollment of 80 students, 5 were expelled, 12 withdrew voluntarily by request, and 8 were absent on leave. But back to public schools and the ever present antagonism between the planter class and the humble followers of democracy and other areas of our state. A growing awareness for the need of public education was creeping across the land and the financial fiascos of the early years. were not forgotten. The planter class dominates our state government. They're using state resources to promote their own financial gain. Albert Gallatin Brown Occupy of Copiah County campaigned on the establishment of a public
The History of Education in Mississippi
Part 1
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Mississippi Educational Television
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia (Athens, Georgia)
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"Because of the unique nature of Mississippi ETV's live coverage of the first Governor's Conference on Education, a description of the program -- which was 18 hours in length -- is enclosed on another sheet. The description is of the conference in general, which is necessary in order to understand the two segments we are submitting as a sample of the program. One segment is a dramatic presentation on the history of education in Mississippi and the second segment is a special one edited for Mississippi ETV's 'Blacklife' series, on the significance of the Governor's conference for minorities in Mississippi."--1973 Peabody Awards entry form. This is the dramatic presentation on the history of education in Mississippi.
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Producing Organization: Mississippi Educational Television
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The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia
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Chicago: “The History of Education in Mississippi; Part 1,” 1973, The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC, accessed June 28, 2022,
MLA: “The History of Education in Mississippi; Part 1.” 1973. The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Web. June 28, 2022. <>.
APA: The History of Education in Mississippi; Part 1. Boston, MA: The Walter J. Brown Media Archives & Peabody Awards Collection at the University of Georgia, American Archive of Public Broadcasting (GBH and the Library of Congress), Boston, MA and Washington, DC. Retrieved from