MHC may be gone, but not forgotten

Staff Writer

Mary Holmes College was a historically black college founded as a secondary school in 1892, located in Jackson, by the Board of Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church. It was moved to its permanent location in West Point in 1897. And in 1959, and the school became the two – year junior college specializing in liberal arts, career studies and science that continued until its final closing in 2005.

The main purpose of the college after becoming co-educational in 1932, was the education of teachers for the African American community. Private schools like Mary Holmes were the main sources of educational opportunities for black teachers in the south. The preparation undergone by Mary Holmes graduates made them in high demand as educators.

Since its closing March 5, 2005, the grounds were purchased by Community Counseling Services in May of 2010. The grounds have undergone extensive renovations and several buildings have been demolished after being deemed unfit due to asbestos and black mold.

But the spirit of Mary Holmes College lives on through its students and faculty. Every two years, students, staff and faculty come back to West Point to Mary Holmes College for a reunion.

"The Mary Holmes College Reunion Alumni held it's annual reunion, June 6-9," Belinda Rice, event coordinator, said. "The group held events such as Thursday night Karaoke Night, Friday night Luau, Saturday morning Community service project.Saturday night Masquerade and Awards Ball, and to conclude the weekend a Worship and prayer service."

Rice said the community service project was geared towards the Tech Generation Learning Center located 26056 West Main Street. The alumni made donations towards the center, and a bake sale " Cake for the cause" was held in front of the center on Saturday morning.

"Dr. Martha Liddell the director was presented with a monetary donation for center on Saturday night," Community service director, Keith Smith, of Atlanta Georgia, Class of 88-89, said. "We were excited to be a part of it, giving back to our community, by giving to our youth."

The weekend was also filled with meet and greet, encounters with alumnus from the 1960's as well as the years 98 and 2000's, as they were hosting their reunion also.

The hosting alumni committee consisted of members of the classes of 80's and 90's. All era's were represented at reunion.

"We were blessed have an alumni from the class of 64, Mr. Willie L. Robinson," Rice said. "Who was the team captain of the MHC Eagles football team."

Speakers during the weekend included Demetrice Trippett, Arthur Bonner of Los Angeles.

"Each year the numbers increase, whereas we had at least 100 registered for the reunion," Lillian Manning c/o 85-86 Committee Vice Chair, said, "Were  looking  for more alumni to attend the next reunion which will be held in 2020. There is so much history that is left to pass on to generations to learn about the rich history of Mary Holmes College."

Rice said she was honored to serve as Event Coordinator for the 5th time.

"I must say it does my heart good, to see everyone come together and show love for each other in memory the school that we all came to love," Rice said.  "Dear Ole Mary Holmes."

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