State Sen. Hillman T. Frazier will keynote Jackson State University’s 143rd Founders’ Day Convocation at 10 a.m. Thursday, Oct. 22. The event will be streamed virtually from Rose E. McCoy Auditorium.
A native of Jackson, Mississippi, Frazier is a graduate of Jackson State University and George Washington University Law School. He served in the Mississippi House from 1980 to 1993 and has served in the state Senate since 1993.
“It is an honor to have Sen. Frazier keynote our Founders’ Day program this year,” said Thomas K. Hudson, acting president of JSU. “He is a great champion of diversity, and we greatly appreciate all that he has done for our state. I am sure listeners will be inspired by his words.”
Throughout his life and career, Frazier has acquired an extensive list of legislative accomplishments. In 1995, he led the Mississippi Legislature in ratifying the 13th Amendment to the U.S. Constitution, which abolished slavery in the United States. He also researched and authored the Compulsory School Attendance and Public Kindergarten Bills, which became the cornerstone of the Education Reform Act of 1982.
Among other noted achievements, Frazier authored the bill making Dr. Martin Luther King’s birthday an official state holiday in Mississippi. As chairman of the House Judiciary “A” Subcommittee, he successfully fought for the passage of the Mississippi Crime Victims’ Compensation Act, which compensates the victim of violent crimes up to $15,000. He also co-chaired the committee that recommended establishing the Two Mississippi Museums, which opened in December 2017.
Frazier has been the recipient of numerous awards, including the “The Ralph Bunche Award” by the Jackson State University International Festival in April 2000; the “2000 Millennium Torch Award” by the Magnolia Bar Association in January 2000; “Lifetime Achievement Award” by the Community Health Center Association of Mississippi; the “2016 Day at the Capitol Appreciation Award” by the state and the Capitol Area Chapters of AARP in 2016; the “Global Understanding and Cultural Advocate Award” by the Mississippi World Trade Center in 2014; the “Purple Peace Prize Award” by the Mississippi Coalition Against Domestic Violence in 2014; and the “2013 Legislator of the Year Award” by Mothers Against Drunk Driving (MADD). In December 1997, he was recognized as “Legislator of the Year” by the National Black Caucus of Legislators.
In 2002 he was selected to participate in the Bavarian-American State Legislators Conference “State Governance for the 21st Century: Promoting Civil Society, Security and Economic Prosperity” in Munich, Germany; cities in Bavaria; and Brussels, Belgium. He has also traveled and worked on projects in Albania, Amsterdam, Azerbaijan, Germany, Ghana, India, the Republic of Mali, Nigeria, Senegal, the Republic of South Africa, the Republic of Uzbekistan, Turkey, Israel, the Republic of China and the United States Virgin Islands.
Jackson State University was founded in 1877 by Henry P. Jacobs as the Natchez Seminary. Born into slavery, Jacobs learned to read and write then forged freedom papers for himself and his family. In 1856, Jacobs and his family fled to Canada using the Underground Railroad. Later, they moved to Natchez. With assistance from the American Baptist Home Mission Society, Jacobs founded a school for freed people, now Jackson State University.