Our History

Junior League of Jackson
Community Service Milestones

The Junior Auxiliary of Jackson was organized in 1927 with a small group of women who wanted to better their community. In January of 1941, the Junior League of Jackson was born. Today, the Junior League of Jackson is one of the larger Leagues in the Association of Junior Leagues International with our membership numbering more than 2,400 Provisional, Active and Sustaining members.

Almost 75 years later, we are proud to reflect on some of our collaborations and partnerships that have helped make Jackson a stronger and better community.

Milestones of Community Service

1940’s

1940
Community Hospital 
Developed from the merger of the Free Baby Clinic and the County Maternity Center in 1940. The resulting Maternal and Child Health Center was enlarged in 1944 to become the Community Hospital, a vital service to the City of Jackson. The League was a leader in the opening, staffing, finding a location for and maintaining the facility throughout these years. A Dental Clinic was added in 1955.

1941
World War II Service
JLJ volunteers chaired and helped organize the Civilian Defense Volunteer Office. League members also extended hospitality to members of the armed forces in Jackson. JLJ helped issue Ration Books, sold War Bonds and Stamps during the Third War Fund Drive and assisted the local Ration Board in a nation–wide check–up of local groceries.

1945
Radio Series for children 
JLJ presented an educational series of radio programs designed for children that promoted Mississippi history.

1949
Carver Branch Library 
Opened by Junior League of Jackson, the Carver Branch Library was the first Jackson Public Library available to African Americans.

1950’s

1950
University of Mississippi Medical School
JLJ endorses and advocates to the Legislature the establishment of a 4–year medical school and teaching hospital.

1950
Advocacy
JLJ advocates and endorses the passage of legislation for long range improvements and planning for the City of Jackson. JLJ advocates and lobbies Mississippi Legislature for passage of a Standard Adoption Law.

1956
Mississippi School for the Blind
JLJ started a pre–school nursery. JLJ volunteers also help successfully lobby the Mississippi Legislature to lower the age of admittance from 7 to 6.

1960’s

1961
Mental Health Clinic 
Co–sponsored by the State Board of Health, the JLJ provided financial assistance and set up an Advisory Board for the clinic.

1965
Old Capitol Museum Guides/Docents
JLJ provided a guide service for groups visiting the Old Capitol Museum. The program was eventually given docent status and expanded to include non–League volunteers. JLJ provided lesson plans for grades five through nine who visited the Museum starting in 1969.

1969
Hurricane Camille Relief
JLJ cancels plans for a Giant Rummage Sale and unanimously votes to donate all collected merchandise to the Mississippi Gulf Coast residents.

1970’s

1970
Operation Shoestring 
JLJ volunteers assist in this ministry providing tutorial aid, referral programs and medical assistance.

1972
Prevention of Blindness 
JLJ volunteers conducted vision screenings for preschoolers and children through 12th grade. They also screened adults over 30 for glaucoma and conducted public education programs about blindness prevention.

1975
Historic Preservation
JLJ volunteers originally assisted the Department of Archives and History with a land grant survey of property they deemed important. It later included attempts to save the remaining historical structures on North State Street, development of walking tours and a guide book, educational programs for schools and nominations of structures for the National Register of Historic Places.

1980’s

1980
Rockin’ Mamas
JLJ purchased and donated a “neo–natal cradle” (an ambulance designed for neo–natal care) to the City of Jackson in conjunction with the start of this project concerning newborn care. JLJ volunteers rocked and provided stimulation to premature infants at area hospitals and communicated with their parents.

1980
Chimneyville Center of Crafts and Design
JLJ, Millsaps College and the Craftsmen’s Guild established this center with the League committing $100,000 in funding. JLJ volunteers helped with classes in native Mississippi crafts. They additionally assisted with administrative duties. The Center was nationally recognized and the JLJ worked to ensure its continuation after the completion of the project.

1986
Children’s Cancer Clinic
JLJ initiated a $2 million fundraising campaign to build the Children’s Cancer Clinic at University Medical Center as its first signature project. In 1989 the goal was reached and groundbreaking ceremonies took place.

1990’s

1992
Breast Cancer Awareness
JLJ and the American Cancer Society hosted press conference to announce Breast Cancer Awareness Month emphasizing breast self examination, early detection and mammography. Additionally, they promoted awareness through educational presentations to different groups.

1995
Eudora Welty Film and Fiction Festival
JLJ volunteers worked with the Mississippi Writers Association to coordinate this event which highlighted the literary and cultural excellence of our state.

1998
West Park Network
Building on the Neighborhood Individual Asset Survey, JLJ volunteers performed tasks identified by West Park Neighborhood Leaders to aid in their organizing efforts. Additionally, they planned and implemented the annual Neighborhood Celebration/Health Fair providing comprehensive medical outreach to West Park residents.

2000’s

2002
Children and Youth Focus
JLJ began its focus on Children and Youth and unanimously voted to adopt the Mississippi Children’s Museum as the League’s second signature project and support the Museum with a $1 million financial commitment.

2005
Hurricane Katrina Relief
JLJ responds to the overwhelming need of Mississippians on the Gulf Coast in the wake of Hurricane Katrina.

2008
Mississippi Children’s Museum
Ground breaking ceremonies are held at LeFleur’s Bluff State Park to begin construction of the museum for Mississippi children.

2010’s

2010
Mississippi Children’s Museum Grand Opening 
The Mississippi Children's Museum celebrates its grand opening on December 4, 2010 with Junior League of Jackson members helping plan and staff the celebration and special activities. 

2011
70th Anniversary Celebration 
The Junior League of Jackson celebrates its 70th Anniversary with a week-long series of special events and community outreach activities. 

2012
JLJ adopts Issue Based Community Impact Model 
The Junior League of Jackson endorses an Issue Based Community Impact Model for the selection and evaluation of its community projects, which requires the League to identify a small number of critical community needs and to place its volunteers and project funds exclusively or primarily in those areas, in order to maximize the League’s effectiveness in improving the community. These community needs are identified: early literacy, teenage pregnancy prevention and support, nutrition, physical activity, and social and emotional wellness. 

2014
The Literacy Garden
The Mississippi Children's Museum $2.25 outdoor gallery The Literacy Garden opens, increasing the museum's exhibit space by more than 40 percent and providing children with a unique, innovative learning experience that integrates the arts, literacy, health and nature.