Morris Brown College Allies Lend A Hand, Hope For Comeback

Zelda Jackson, one of the volunteers who helped clean up the Morris Brown College campus Wednesday, has fond memories of her time at the school.
Credit Stephannie Stokes / WABE
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Alumni and staff of Morris Brown College are still pushing to regain accreditation.  The historically black college lost it more than a decade ago, in large part due to financial woes.

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Some Morris Brown supporters showed their loyalty at one of the school’s regular cleanups Wednesday. Volunteers repainted parts of the campus and worked on other projects the college can’t get to on its limited budget.

Zelda Jackson, who painted a hanging chain fence that leads up to the school’s few main buildings, smiled as she recalled her time on campus in the 1990s.

“I came and left before we lost our accreditation,” Jackson said.  “So I have some fond, wonderful memories of the football games, basketball games. Met the best friends of my life.”

Stacy Lloyd, who graduated in 2001 when Morris Brown had a couple thousand students, worked alongside Jackson. She said school pride also led her to pick up a brush.

“I think we’re at the point right now where we’re just trying to put our hands, our money and our resources to try to get the school back to where it once was,” Lloyd said.

The college still grants degrees, despite losing accreditation, but students can’t get federal financial aid. The graduating class this year is 17.

Robert Johnson, Morris Brown’s chief operating officer, was also helping spruce up the campus. He said he’s confident the school will regain its status with the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools soon.

“We’re in the final stages of the application,” Johnson said. “In fact, I think we made a major step, because we gave it to an outside party to review.”

If everything in the application is in order, then Morris Brown will submit it to the accreditation agency. The success of that stage of the process will depend on more than campus repairs. To be accredited again, the school will have to prove its finances are in shape.