Spelman arts center to be named after LaTanya Richardson, Samuel L. Jackson

"Their dedication to their artistry will leave a legacy that will inspire students for years to come,” said Spelman President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell.

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Actress LaTanya Richardson Jackson will be honored for a lifetime at her alma mater as Spelman College will name its Performing Arts Center after its most famous alumnae and her husband, actor Samuel L. Jackson.

“The love that both LaTanya and Sam continue to exhibit for Spelman since their time on stage decades ago is heartwarming,” said Spelman President Dr. Mary Schmidt Campbell in a recent news release. “These living legends met and acted together on stage on our campus. Their dedication to their artistry will leave a legacy that will inspire students in the Atlanta University Center for years to come.”

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The Hollywood power couple met while LaTanya was a student at Spelman College and Samuel was studying at Morehouse College. They also performed leading roles with the Morehouse Spelman Players on Spelman’s theatrical stage in the 1970s. Per the Atlanta-Journal Constitution, the Jackson’s donated an undisclosed amount to Spelman for the center’s renovation project, which is expected to be completed by 2023.

Samuel J. Jackson LaTanya Richardson Jackson thegrio.com
(Credit: Getty Images)

“The benevolence of God placed me, Sam and our daughter Zoe inside a miracle which out of great gratitude, we work hard to share. Sam and I are invested in the success of Spelman because Spelman first invested so much in us,” said Richardson Jackson, who served on the college’s board from 1998 to 2006.

Spelman College announced on Twitter that the “renovated theater, lobby, dressing rooms and supporting areas” will be named the “LaTanya Richardson Jackson and Samuel L. Jackson Performing Arts Center.” Other contributors to the center’s renovation include Bank of America, David Rockefeller Jr., and Geroge Lucas and his wife Mellody Hobson through their Hobson/Lucas Family Foundation. 

“We’re pleased to support Spelman College as it inspires, trains and develops the next generation of leaders, from entrepreneurship to the arts, with a commitment that aligns with our focus on advancing racial equality and economic opportunity,” said Anne Finucane, vice chairman for Bank of America. “We believe that when the power of the arts is combined with the longstanding traditions of Spelman, it yields excellence, and we’re honored to be a part of this important work.”

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As an award-winning and accomplished actress of stage and screen, Richardson Jackson has appeared in film and television projects including Fried Green Tomatoes, The Fighting Temptations, Dorothy Dandridge, Grey’s Anatomy, Blue Bloods, U.S. Marshalls, Freedomland, Losing Isaiah, Malcolm X, and the Netflix series Luke Cage

Jackson, who has won several acting awards, has appeared in more than 100 films, including Pulp Fiction, Star Wars, Coming to America, Do the Right Thing, Snakes on A Plane, A Time to Kill, Eve’s Bayou, Shaft, and as Nick Fury for the Disney Marvel franchise.  The Jackson’s are also producers of the acclaimed documentary Enslaved streaming now on EPIX.

“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,” Campbell said.

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