Over one hundred sixty-five years ago on March 2, 1848, the Institution for the Instruction of the Blind was officially established by the State Legislature (Article 9, Chapter 43 – Laws of Mississippi) with an appropriation of $2500. Prior to this, a blind philanthropist, James Champlain, made an appeal to the legislature to use state aid to establish an institution for the blind. Since its establishment, the school has been known by several names: Institute for the Blind, Asylum for the Blind, and Mississippi School for the Blind.
The school initially served 28 students; it presently provides services to more than 200 visually impaired and blind children through its Comprehensive Home-Based Intervention Program (CHIP), on-campus educational program, the Jackson Central Lions Low Vision Clinic, and the Mississippi Instructional Resource Center.
Mississippi School for the Blind has occupied several locations during its long history, at one time moved to Monticello in south Mississippi to allow its facilities to be used as a hospital during the Civil War. A temporary school for black children with visual impairments was established in 1929 at Piney Woods Country Life School. Helen Keller visited this school, as well as the school on North State Street, in 1945. In 1951, a new school on Capers Avenue replaced the one at Piney Woods. In 1948, a new school for students at the North State location opened on Eastover Drive. All students moved to the Eastover site in 1980. In December 1999, MSB moved to its present location on the south side of Eastover Drive with the Mississippi School for the Deaf.
The Mississippi School for the Blind (MSB) is now a component of the Mississippi Department of Education. Though initially governed by its own board, its governing body is now the State Board of Education.
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