For weeks, Atty. Alvin Chambliss and former State Representative Kathy Sykes did what they do best – organize. The duo, along with other long-time supporters, sought to recreate the magic of the 1993 March for HBCUs that was a massive gathering and strength for the Ayers v. Fordice case during that time.
It took another 9 years before this case, litigated by Atty. Chambliss, won state funded Historically Black Colleges and Universities of Mississippi – Jackson State University, Alcorn State University, and Mississippi Valley State University – $503 million (to be dispersed over the course of 17 years) in an attempt to create equity within Mississippi’s higher education system.
Now, 17 years have passed, and the money has slowed down to a trickle, which unfortunately seems to mirror the community support around this issue as well. The meetup to the march commenced early Saturday morning, August 14 (two weeks prior to the scheduled March on Washington to address all social injustices) at the Masonic Temple on Lynch Street with a handful of people, including Chambliss, Sykes, Ivory Phillips, Kathryn Orey, and JA Publisher Emerita Alice Tisdale Perkins. And, as the day went on, more supporters rallied at Smith Park in downtown Jackson.
Rims and Judy Barber and MIRA founder Bill Chandler came out to show support. Youth from Southern Echo also rallied around the cause and encouragement came all the way from Meridian, MS in the form of retired JPD officer and FBI agent, Beverly Harris Williams, and former Meridian councilwoman Mary Perry.
Chambliss states that he’s ready for a changing of the guard. “In order for us to free the land, we have to have young people. I’m getting ready to turn over the baton. We need Black Lives Matter, we need the NAACP, and we need fraternities and sororities.”