Two Rivers Gala - About

The Two Rivers Gala | Tougaloo Honors®

The Two Rivers Gala | Tougaloo Honors® is aligned with other major celebrations of the College’s eighteen month-long series marking the 50th Anniversary of the Civil Rights Movement. These events not only pay homage to the history of the Movement, they also serve to tell the story of Tougaloo College’s role as “the cradle of the Civil Rights Movement.” The Two Rivers Gala | Tougaloo Honors® will be held at the Jackson Convention Complex followed closely by the Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th celebration on the Tougaloo College campus during the month of June.

The origin of the name Two Rivers is an interpretation of the Choctaw word, Tougaloo, which means “the convergence of two streams.” The imagery of the twin streams flows throughout Tougaloo’s history and has forged a rich tradition in the outward practices of the College. Anyone who has attended a Tougaloo College commencement exercise will recognize the two streams in the academic procession, which represent the learned (faculty and administration) merging with those who seek knowledge (students).

And this year, The Two Rivers Gala® | Tougaloo Honors® celebrates the contributions of ordinary people who made extraordinary contributions to the struggle for equal opportunities. The Gala will also serve to illuminate the promise of leadership and democracy fostered by our future. The honorees personify service to civil and human rights and their contributions have triggered transcending impacts on our nation’s history.

Two Rivers Gala | Tougaloo Honors® will be the perfect preamble to our Mississippi Freedom Summer 50th celebration. Both events are as much about the future as they are about the past, about honoring the contributions of a few that had such significant impacts on many. As we continue to educate for democracy at Tougaloo College, we highlight the examples set by their works as paradigms for our young leaders to emulate.

Tougaloo College | A Legacy of Action

The genesis of Tougaloo College begins with the end of legalized slavery. Founded in 1869 by the American Missionary Association, Tougaloo College became the epicenter of the Civil Rights Movement in Mississippi during the 1960s. It was the safe haven for activists, as well as the important leaders of the Movement, including Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Fannie Lou Hamer, Senator Robert Kennedy, Julian Bond and Stokely Carmichael, all of whom spoke from the pulpit of the College’s historic Woodworth Chapel.

Today, Tougaloo College is a globally recognized institution whose distinctive strengths are academic excellence and social commitment. Since its founding in 1869, the College has established a nationally recognized legacy of excellence, relevance and influence. According to the National Science Foundation, Tougaloo ranks among the top 25 U.S. institutions whose graduates earn PhDs in the science and engineering disciplines and among the top 15 historically black colleges and universities in the graduation of females with undergraduate degrees in the physical sciences. The Princeton Review and the U.S. News and World Report consistently list Tougaloo College as one of the Best Colleges in the Southeast and U.S. News and World Report also ranked Tougaloo among the top 20 of “America’s Best Black Colleges.” Washington Monthly lists the College among the top 20 liberal arts institutions in the nation.

The College’s storied past has demonstrated that the character and context in which we educate our students produces alumni who leave the College prepared, committed, and empowered to change the world.