Jackie Bland & Larry Hanshaw
Tougaloo Class of 1969

When we entered Tougaloo College in the fall of 1969, our class was touted as the largest freshman class to ever enroll at Tougaloo. There were slightly over two hundred of us and we came from every nook and cranny in the State of Mississippi with several classmates coming from Alabama.   We were a class of valedictorians, salutatorians and top ten students from our high school classes.   In a nutshell, we were all brilliant students and a great representation of W.E.B. DuBois’ talented tenth.   We left behind our lives of familiarity—family, friends, and community and entered the gates of Tougaloo College as innocent babes.

Over the course of four years, we  attended classes together, studied together, pledged sororities and 

fraternities together, partied together, hung out together, got into situations together, fell in love with each other, and did everything that young people away from parental supervision could be expected to do!

We left Tougaloo different from the innocent babes that entered those gates. We are forever grateful for the people we met, the teachers who enlightened us and always challenged us to think for ourselves, the opportunities we were given, and the successful launching-pad Tougaloo College provided.

Fifty years have passed and many of the class of 1969 return to campus for this Sesquicentennial Celebration and for our 50th-year Class Reunion– wiser, more mature, and forever mindful of our shared youth.

Tougaloo College will always be our beacon of hope, because it was “Through These Gates” that we had our beginnings.