Margaret Walker Center
The Margaret Walker Center in Jackson, Mississippi, is an archive and museum dedicated to the preservation, interpretation, and dissemination of African American history and culture. Founded in 1968 as the Institute for the Study of the History, Life, and Culture of Black People by writer Margaret Walker, the center honors Walker’s academic and artistic legacy through its archival collections, exhibits, and public programs.
An accomplished author, Walker stood at the forefront of the nascent Black Studies movement. The institute reflected her immersion in 20th-century African American history and culture. During her life, Walker had the unique opportunity to be mentored by W.E.B. Du Bois, Langston Hughes, and Richard Wright, as well as to mentor noted writers like James Baldwin, Sonia Sanchez, Nikki Giovanni, Amiri Baraka, Alice Walker, and Toni Morrison.
The center continues to collect archival records and personal papers for scholarly use. It works with other Jackson State University (JSU) departments to engage the community through public programs, literacy projects, and educational workshops. It advocates for the preservation of the built environment, such as its home in the historic 1903 Ayer Hall, which is the oldest structure on the JSU campus; it was named to the National Register of Historic Places in 1977.
The center is open to the public and houses many significant records, from Walker's papers to those of former U.S. Secretary of Education Roderick Paige. It also features museum and exhibit spaces that highlight its collections, the history of JSU, and a large oral history department with nearly 2,000 interviews.
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