224 A BICENTENNIAL HISTORY OF MISSISSIPPI cuts and fears that the school would be consolidated, school leaders proposed that the school offer college courses to its students. In the fall of 1922, Hinds added college courses to its curriculum. Other agricultural high schools followed suit. The first freshman class at Hinds consisted of thirty students who had graduated from the high school. In 1926, the sophomore level was added to the school, marking the establishment of Hinds Junior College. In April 1928, Mississippi passed legislation creating the first junior college system in the United States. That same year, Copiah-Lincoln Junior College was founded in the town of Wesson in Copiah County. As the Democrats reasserted their political dominance, however, the opportunities for African American students in the Capital Area shrank. In 1875, only one African American school existed in Jackson and it held class in a hotel. African American membership on the school board was phased out, and by 1888 the area’s two white schools had consolidated and whites dominated the school board. Within a few years, the impact of this transition became MYNELLE GARDENS Established in 1917, Mynelle Gardens started as a private garden surrounding the house and grounds of the Westbrook family home in Jackson. Mynelle Westbrook Green Hayward and her husband moved into her parents’ large home in Jackson, and opened a flower shop, Greenbrook Flowers, on the property. Other homes and greenhouses were built on the grounds, and all eventually were renovated to the Southern Antebellum style. In 1952, Mynelle Hayward began restoring the gardens. One year later, the seven acres of gardens, ponds, arbors, and islands opened to the public. Mynelle Gardens has been owned by the city of Jackson since 1973 and remains open year-round to the public. PHOTO COURTESY OF VISIT MISSISSIPPI™ clear. During the 1894-1895 school year, the one white school employed sixteen teachers with a 46:1 student to teacher ratio while the African American school had only nine teachers with a ratio of 72:1. In the African American school, the per-student-allocation was $35. In the white school it was $51.56. This gap would continue to grow wider in the following decades. Politics in the Capital Area during the 1880s and 1890s differed somewhat from the rest of the state. Economic crisis and a yellow fever epidemic in the 1870s exacerbated complaints among poor farmers who blamed Democrats for failing to address what they considered an unfair share of the tax burden. Those farmers joined former Democrats and Whigs and began looking for an alternative to the Democratic ticket which would better represent their interests. The Greenback Party was born out of that coalition and reflected a broader agrarian revolt in other parts of the country. The Greenback Party’s strongest support came from the northeastern part of the state, but it was also prominent in Hinds and Rankin counties. The high percentage of African American residents in the Capital Area was a promising recruiting field for Greenback leaders. Along with disillusioned former Democrats and Whigs, African American voters who had seen their rights undermined by the Democrats were also attracted to the party. After a respectable showing during the 1878 campaign season, the party grew and organized in Hinds County in 1879. By August, Hinds had a full slate of candidates, two of whom were African American. It also began publishing its own paper, the Weekly Independent. The efforts were successful. Three Greenback candidates were elected to the state legislature and the Greenback candidate became the county’s treasurer. However, not all of the anti-Democrat protest votes in the Capital Area fell into the Greenback camp. Voters in Copiah, Madison, and Yazoo counties drew more votes for Independent candidates. In all, the Capital Area in the 1880s carved out its own political niche outside of the Democratic Party, evidence of growing strength among small farmers in the region. The threat to white unity represented by both the Greenback and the Independent political alternatives ultimately led to their demise. By the 1890s, the Populist movement that swept northern areas of the state faltered in the Capital Area. Democratic candidates pointed to the African American majorities in the Capital Area in order to dissuade white voters from supporting alternative parties. If white unity split, they argued, African American voters and candidates would be the winners. The threat of African American domination ultimately carried more weight than did the alienation that Capital