On Saturday, November 12, 2016, the Mobile Kappa League traveled to Jackson State University to tour the campus and attend the Alabama A & M vs. JSU football game. The Kappa Leaguers received an excellent tour from their advisors Carl Cunningham Sr., who is a 1970 graduate and Carl Cunningham Jr., who is a 1995 graduate.
Carl Cunningham Sr., explained to the Kappa Leaguers about the Jackson State University Tragedy. According to Carl Sr., on May 15, 1970, dozens of Jackson, MS city and state policemen unloaded more than 460 rounds of gunfire into JSU's Alexander Hall after claiming to have seen a sniper in a window on the building's top floor.
The shooting was the culmination of years of racial tension in the city. Phillip Lafayette Gibbs, 21, a junior, and James Earl Green, 17, a senior and James Earl Green from nearby Jim Hill High School, were killed. Carl Sr. stated, “I jumped in the bushes right across the street from where we are standing as watched everything take place. We had to immediately evacuate the campus. Because I had a car, I transported students from campus to the bus station so they could get home.
I never had a commencement ceremony because everybody was sent home.” All the Kappa Leaguers were deeply moved by this history lesson from our advisor. After the college tour we headed to the stadium to enjoy the football game and the marching bands of Alabama A & M and the Jackson State University Sonic Boom of the South.
I asked Kappa Leaguer Bert Horace what he enjoyed the most about the trip and he said, “I enjoyed the history lesson of the Gibbs-Green shootings. I did not know that took place. These are the things we do not learn in our history books at school. I am glad that I came on this college tour.”
Submitted by: Renado Pettaway, Director of the Mobile Kappa League Public Relations