Spelman College is paying homage to an influential couple who has contributed to shaping the landscape of the arts and entertainment industry. The Atlanta-based HBCU recently announced it would name its Performing Arts Center after actress and director LaTanya Richardson Jackson and her husband actor and filmmaker Samuel L. Jackson.
The center—which is housed inside of the institution’s John D. Rockefeller Fine Arts Building—has been the epicenter of all things arts and culture on campus. For the married couple, the renaming of the building is a full-circle honor. Richardson Jackson, a Spelman alumna, began to lay the foundation for her acting career on the performing arts center stage. Samuel L. Jackson, who attended Morehouse College, graced the stage as part of the Morehouse Spelman Players. Richardson Jackson went on to star in stage productions that include A Raisin in the Sun, To Kill a Mockingbird, For Colored Girls, From the Mississippi Delta and more. She has also had roles in the films Losing Isaiah, Malcolm X, The Fighting Temptations and several other movie and television projects. Throughout his career, Jackson has appeared in over 100 films including Do the Right Thing, Shaft, Eve’s Bayou and The Banker.
Mary Schmidt Campbell, Ph.D., President of Spelman, says the renaming of the performing arts center shines a light on their contributions which will inspire generations of students who are destined to be leaders in the arts. “The love that both LaTanya and Sam continue to exhibit for Spelman since their time on stage decades ago is heartwarming,” she said in a statement. “Their dedication to their artistry will leave a legacy that will inspire students in the Atlanta University Center for years to come. We are grateful for their gift and that of the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, Bank of America and David Rockefeller Jr. to renovate the space where these beloved talents got their start. Pioneers and leaders in producing important stories, LaTanya and Sam’s excellence will forever resonate in the arts center named for them.”
Richardson Jackson shared that she and her husband are invested in the growth of the institution because it served as a pillar along their journeys. The reconstruction of the facility has been supported by the Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation, David Rockefeller Jr. and Bank of America.
Several Black pioneers in the arts have been honored and celebrated by HBCUs. Phylicia Rashad was appointed to serve as the dean of Howard University’s College of Fine Arts.
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