Duvall Decker

Duvall Decker

Jackson, MS


The Bennie G. Thompson Academic & Civil Rights Research Center Tougaloo College, Jackson Mississippi

Krystal Lamm
Jun 13, '11 10:25 AM EST
Photo Credit: Eric Hudson
Photo Credit: Eric Hudson

June 9, 2011 (JACKSON, MS) - Tougaloo College dedicates the new,  Bennie G. Thompson Academic & Civil Rights Research Center, named for alumnus and national leader, the Honorable Bennie G. Thompson, Congressman for the Second District of Mississippi and recent Chairman of the Committee on Homeland Security. 

The project is the first academic building constructed on campus since 1959 and is the first building to follow the updated campus master plan completed in 2002.  The endeavor of this building continues a tradition of progressive transformation that has defined the spirit of the Tougaloo campus since its founding in 1869.  The American Missionary Association transformed a plantation run on slave labor to a school for freed slaves.  Tougaloo College grew into an influential institution helping to spur the civil rights movement and continuing to educate young community leaders.

The project, planned and designed by Duvall Decker Architects, P.A., under the direction of Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, President of Tougaloo College, and constructed by Fountain/Major Joint Venture II, sought to embody the Tougaloo College educational mission by entangling students, faculty, art, and visitors in a cross-disciplinary educational environment.  This “spatial entanglement” supports Tougaloo’s educational tradition of individual empowerment by promoting inquiry and exploration.

The new sustainable 27,000-square-foot facility provides needed state of the art classrooms, a 120-seat lecture hall, and conference center at the heart of the historic civil rights campus.  The new facility features an art gallery that showcases the College’s extensive permanent private collection of over 1400 pieces, which is widely considered Mississippi’s most important private collection of American modern art and traditional African sculpture and artifacts.  

“We’re very excited about the new Civil Rights Research Center and its contribution to our College and campus.  In addition to providing needed classroom and art gallery space, the center provides an environment where students, faculty, art, visitors and campus leaders can mingle, exchange ideas and grow as citizen leaders. In this way, the building captures the unique culture of Tougaloo College,” said Dr. Beverly Wade Hogan, President, Tougaloo College.
Tougaloo College is a historically African-American, private, coeducational, church-related, four-year, liberal arts institution located in Jackson Mississippi.  The College was founded by the American Missionary Association, which was an outgrowth of the Amistad Committee, whose mission was to obtain freedom for blacks through education.  In the 1960’s, the campus courageously provided sanctuary for civil rights leaders and activists as they shared ideas, devised strategies and fought for freedom, equality and an end to segregation.  The College’s contributions to citizenship continue through its education of young leaders and its commitment to community service. 

Duvall Decker Architects, P.A., a Jackson, MS based architecture and planning firm, has received numerous awards for design excellence.  Duvall Decker’s work includes educational facilities, public buildings, art and cultural facilities, libraries and affordable housing.  The firm consistently considers the public aspects of the built environment to produce buildings durable in both material and memory. For more information, please visit