There is not much left of it. One boarded up building and another that seems to be pretty much gutted. And there is a brick gazebo right in the middle of what was once the campus of Okolona College.
It is on the National Register of Historic Places and has an Archives and History historic marker out front, telling that these buildings, plus another five that have been lost to time, were a school for blacks in the area from 1902 until it closed in 1965.
Oddly enough it was the passage of the Civil Rights acts that ended Okolona College.
“It lost it’s funding after that Civil Rights movement was over because then we went to the public schools,” said Mattie Stevens.
Ms. Stevens is a regional President of the National Council of Negro Women. That organization owns Okolona College and would really like to see something done with it other than just to watch it continue to deteriorate. “The National Council of Negro Women purchased it to have educational programs again. And that is one of the things that we hope to do.”
Although there are only two of the original seven buildings left, Ms. Stevens says those two could live again.
“One is an old dormitory, was a girls dormitory, and then the administrative building," added Stevens. "So, we’re hoping to renovate those two buildings so it can serve as a tourist attraction for the state and that small town of Okolona.”
Okolona is better known to history buffs for the Civil War Battle of Okolona that was fought over a large area around it. Matter of fact, Okolona College sits on a part of the battlefield.
But the current battle is now to save what’s left of the college.
“We’re trying to raise funds," said Mattie Stevens. "We have a lot of stuff to do before we can actually start any work.”
Well, every success started with a dream and a hope, followed by a plan. The dream and hope are in place for Okolona College. I’m convinced the plan is forthcoming.
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