In the wake of systemic racism, the blatant killing of African Americans, and the clarion call for equality, Tougaloo College is establishing the Reuben V. Anderson Institute for Social Justice. According to Tougaloo College President Dr. Carmen J. Walters, “Tougaloo, known as the Cradle of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi, has a long history of fighting for freedom, equality and justice. It remains our responsibility to contribute to the education of students to train them to become the ethical leaders, change agents and social justice advocates of tomorrow making meaningful change throughout the world.”  


“The Institute will equip Tougaloo’s scholars, community partners and other constituents for lifelong engagement on social justice issues through theory, practice and initiatives that build skills and knowledge in the areas of Pre-Law, Public Policy, Leadership Development, and Social Activism and Justice.  The Institute will be a catalyst for greater understanding of people, solving challenges that hinder equal rights and justice for all people, and influencing policy. Students will be introduced to national speakers, experts, and guest lecturers including U.S. Congressman Bennie G. Thompson of the second congressional district in Mississippi and Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security and National NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson, who are both Tougalooians,” says Walters.


The Institute, named after the first African American to hold a seat on the Mississippi Supreme Court, Justice Reuben V. Anderson, a Tougaloo alumnus and well-respected attorney and leader in Jackson, MS who provided funding to create the Institute, will carry on Justice Anderson’s extensive work, legacy and lifelong commitment to eradicating racism, injustice and inequality.  


Anderson said he is honored to be a part of the efforts to create an Institute at the College. “Since 1960, Tougaloo students have had a voice in human rights, voting rights and desegregation, so to see students speaking out and protesting injustice today is gratifying. It's great to see our young people involved in worldwide social activism, but I want to remind all people that getting out to vote and preparing students to fill local, state and national offices is most important. We need everyday citizens voting to elect politicians and legal representatives within the legislative and judicial systems who represent the change we want and need to see. Additionally, without grooming students to influence public policy, injustice will continue to prevail,” said Anderson.  

Congressman Thompson said, “The Reuben V. Anderson Institute for Social Justice is much needed for Mississippi and the South. Tougaloo College has always been in the forefront for change. Tougaloo’s legacy in Civil Rights is firmly planted in the core of Mississippi’s history. Collectively we must educate future generations on past race relations so that we can end systemic racism in this country. I am proud Tougaloo has again taken the challenge on the local level to address the injustices of the African American community.”