When given the commission to prepare a Cultural Landscape Report for Tougaloo College just north of Jackson, Mississippi, initial research resulted in the realization that this was a terribly complicated landscape, with many layers of use visible to students, researchers, and visitors.
Originally constructed as an antebellum plantation, the home and surrounding acreage was later acquired by the American Missionary Association, and converted into a university to educate teachers who would then serve as instructors to recently freed former slaves in the South.
Over the years, the school has been visited by such dignitaries as Robert Kennedy and Martin Luther King, and served as a central gathering point for those involved in the Civil Rights struggles in Mississippi in the 1960s.
Several different zones of landscape interpretation were identified and used to create a new master plan for school managers as they moved forward in the construction of a Civil Rights Museum on the college grounds. A 1960s group of dormitories designed by modernist master Gunnar Birkerts originally slated for demolition were saved by following the recommendations included in the Cultural Landscape Report. Suzanne Turner Associates received an Honor Award from the Louisiana Chapter of the American Society of Landscape Architects for this research.