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The man who fought to bring head start to Mississippi dies at 83

Dr. Marvin Hogan, 83
Dr. Marvin Hogan, 83(Dr. Beverly Hogan)
Published: Nov. 10, 2021 at 1:27 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - Even after half a century of matrimony, Dr. Marvin and Beverly Hogan still ended phone conversations the same way.

“Until the twelfth of never,” Beverly Hogan smiled.

It’s the name of the 1950′s Johnny Mathis hit song. The opening lyrics are, “You ask how much I need you, must I explain? I need you, oh my darling, like roses need rain. You ask how long I’ll love you; I’ll tell you true: Until the twelfth of never, I’ll still be loving you.”

Saturday, November 13, would be the last time Dr. Beverly Hogan exchanged words with her husband.

At the age of 83, Dr. Marvin Hogan, also a father and grandfather, died of natural causes in his home.

When the couple met in the 1970′s, Hogan says their adoration for each other was grounded by a shared passion; education.

“We talked about it endlessly. Those were the years of great tension and segregation,” Hogan explained. “Marvin saw his mom persevere to complete her bachelor’s degree while teaching, and we saw education as that bridge, that great equalizer.”

Education was held high and viewed as something that “no one can take away from you.”

The two were socially aware of what was happening 50 years ago in Mississippi, and they knew education was the answer.

So, a young Marvin Hogan from Waynesboro set out to bring a headstart to Mississippi, fighting political powers to ensure all children could access the bridge out of poverty.

“In the state of Mississippi, [Head Start] was something that was not wanted... because it was going to take the workers from the field to have to take care of the children,” Dr. Marvin Hogan said in a 2019 interview with National Head Start Association.

The Rust College graduate told NHSA he had no support from Mississippi and no funding for books or even food.

But he capitalized on what he did have - like-minded people in the community who met on Farish Street, the mecca of civil rights efforts at the time.

“They said well, what are we going to call ourselves? Everyone said, well, we are all friends, and we did come here to support children, so one lady said, that’s a good name right there — Friends of Children.” Dr. Marvin Hogan said in the same interview. “We operated for 13 weeks without any federal or state money — we started ‘begging,’ pleading with people for donations, contributions, and whatever.”

In October 1966, the non-profit Friends of Children of Mississippi was born.

Dr. Marvin Hogan
Dr. Marvin Hogan(National Head Start Assocation)

“And this is what began to happen little by little; more people got involved,” Dr. Beverly Hogan said, former president of Tougaloo College. “Little by little, they saw successes with the students who were coming to a head start and the preparation that they had when they entered first grade.”

Today, the nationally recognized Friends of Children of Mississippi still stands strong and oversees 19 counties and 30 Head Start and Early Head Start Centers.

From FCM came the Mississippi Head Start Association, where Hogan’s husband served as executive director for 53 years.

He retired just before the pandemic but was still involved, even making plans last week.

“He was focusing on his teachers and their development and training,” Dr. Beverly Hogan said. “And he was always asking how things were going in the centers.”

The man who fought to bring head start to Mississippi dies at 83
The man who fought to bring head start to Mississippi dies at 83(National Head Start Association)

Hogan later used his influence to establish the Self Sufficiency/Empowerment and Micro Enterprise Development Project, helping develop nearly 300 small businesses in the 15 counties where FCM operated.

And despite all he did, Hogan said her husband always saw himself as “a country boy from Mississippi who wanted to make a difference in the lives of children and families.”

Funeral services will be Saturday, November 13 at Noon at Mt. Helm M.B. Church.

It’s located at 300 E. Church Street in Jackson.

In lieu of flowers donations, family members request donations to the Dr. Marvin Hogan Scholarship Fund for Child Development at Tougaloo College.

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