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Succeeding against Great Odds - Alcorn State University in Its Second Century

Succeeding against Great Odds

Alcorn State University in Its Second Century

By Josephine McCann Posey
Hardcover : 9781496810205, 276 pages, 110 b&w illustrations, June 2017

The recent history of a thriving Mississippi educational institution


Alcorn State University was founded in 1871, making it the oldest public historically black land-grant institution in the United States. Alcorn has undergone numerous changes and expansions over the years, and it continues to produce notable alumni and scholars in more than fifty fields.

Succeeding against Great Odds covers nearly a quarter of a century since Josephine McCann Posey's first institutional history of Alcorn, Against Great Odds: The History of Alcorn State University. This new book briefly summarizes the first 123 years of Alcorn's history. The volume then explores the tenure of three interim and/or acting presidents, Drs. Rudolph E. Waters Sr. , Malvin A. Williams Sr. , and Norris A. Edney Sr. (with Edney serving twice), and permanent presidents, Drs. Clinton Bristow Jr. , George E. Ross, M. Christopher Brown II, and Alfred Rankins Jr. , who have all served since Against Great Odds was published in 1994. This comprehensive narrative shows the university confidently advancing in the twenty-first century, proud of its distinctive heritage and intent on overcoming obstacles to continue a long tradition of excellence.

Succeeding against Great Odds includes numerous appendices to document the illustrious history of Alcorn, its accomplishments, and particularly the people who have shaped the institution.


"Since its humble beginnings in 1871 as Alcorn University, dear Alcorn has been a beacon of hope for the underserved; a pillar of social, educational, and economic progress; and a pathway to success for deserving young minds. Alcorn is a place where leaders in the civil rights movement, medicine, education, entertainment, politics, and sports are born. Alcorn's strength has always rested upon the shoulders of its people: its students, staff, faculty, and faithful alumni.

Alcorn's storied history began as an institution designed to educate the descendants of slaves. That history has been marked by struggle, perseverance, and immense progress. Alcorn State University stands today as a leading comprehensive land-grant HBCU, with a strong academic profile in agriculture, business, nursing, science, and technology. Nestled in rural southwest Mississippi, this great university stands as an academic oasis where 'the grass is a little greener, the air is a little cleaner, and the water is just a little bit sweeter.'"

- Alfred Rankins Jr., nineteenth president, Alcorn State University