McAllister home to be recognized with historical marker

Published 8:05 pm Thursday, August 8, 2019

The former home of one of Vicksburg’s more prominent citizens will be honored with a state historical marker.

Educator Dr. Jane Ellen McAllister, a Vicksburg native, was the first African American woman to receive a Ph.D. in education from Columbia University in 1929. 

Saturday, on the 90th anniversary of her receiving the degree, family members, friends and city officials will dedicate a historical marker at her home at 1403 Main St.

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The ceremony begins Saturday at 11 a.m. at Wesley United Methodist Church, 1308 First East St., followed by the unveiling of the state marker.

“This is something that was overdue,” said Bettye Gardner, McAllister’s cousin.

Gardner worked to get the marker for the house; an idea supported by Mayor George Flaggs Jr.

“It’s quite exciting,” Gardner said of the ceremony. “My mother and she (McAllister) were first cousins. I spent a lot of time at her house, even when Jane Ellen wasn’t there. My mom and dad and I were close to her parents. Much of my childhood was spent there.

“I felt strongly that it (the marker) was important to do, so that whatever one day happened to the house, the marker will be there. We needed to do it.”

McAllister graduated from Talladega College in 1919 and was acknowledged as one of the youngest graduates at that time.  She also served for several years on the school’s Board of Trustees.  She received a master’s degree from the University of Michigan and taught at Fisk University and several other colleges.

About John Surratt

John Surratt is a graduate of Louisiana State University with a degree in general studies. He has worked as an editor, reporter and photographer for newspapers in Louisiana, Mississippi and Alabama. He has been a member of The Vicksburg Post staff since 2011 and covers city government. He and his wife attend St. Paul Catholic Church and he is a member of the Port City Kiwanis Club.

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