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Mayor Lumumba to Make Special Announcement at Jackson State University Class of 1970 Commencement

Posted on May 13, 2021


May 13, 2021



Long-awaited Commencement Ceremony Saturday, May 15, to Mark 51st Commemoration of Gibbs-Green Tragedy


(JACKSON, MS.) –  This Saturday, May 15, 2021, Mayor Chokwe Antar Lumumba will make a special announcement as he joins Jackson State University faculty, staff, students, patrons, special guests and more at the long-awaited special commencement ceremony for the Class of 1970. The event also marks the 51st Commemoration of the Gibbs-Green Tragedy and will be held on the Gibbs-Green Memorial Plaza at 10 a.m.


Members of the Jackson community are encouraged to participate in the event either in person or via livestream. The program will be livestreamed and Guests who attend in person will be expected to wear masks, undergo a temperature scan and practice social distancing.




In the late hours of May 14 and into the early morning of May 15, 1970, Jackson City Police and Mississippi Highway Patrolmen marched on the Jackson State campus and fired nearly 500 rounds of ammunition for 28 seconds into Alexander Hall, a women’s dormitory.


Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, a junior political science major, and James Earl Green, a senior at nearby Jim Hill High School, were killed. Twelve others were shot, and dozens were injured by flying debris, glass and brick in the ensuing chaos. No police officers were ever held accountable.


Shortly after the shootings, the campus was closed, and the graduation ceremony for the Class of 1970 was canceled.


This Saturday, for the first time ever, members of the Class of 1970 will have the opportunity to march in their regalia and receive their diplomas. A posthumous presentation of Honorary Doctorates of Humane Letters on behalf of Phillip Gibbs and James Green will also be presented to their families as well as other special presentations from honored guests.


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