About Us


Jasper Louis Thurman Jr.

Established in honor of Jasper Louis Thurman Jr, Jasper Academy is a self-paced academic enrichment program providing equitable educational support for Black students.

Born in Wilmington, North Carolina, on March 23, 1942, Louis was the only child of Jasper Louis Thurman and Etta McFarland-Thurman. He spent his early years “down south” until his family moved to Philadelphia when he was five years old. For Black children, there were few if any, equitable educational opportunities. Moving North meant Louis could receive a good education in “good” schools.

Once in Philadelphia, Louis' family became active members of Ebenezer Seventh-Day Adventist Church. He attended the Ebenezer Day School, forging friendships that lasted over 50 years. Like many Black parents from that era, Louis’ parents valued education and insisted Louis study hard and also learn to play the piano. As a result, Louis did well in school and became an accomplished pianist. 

Louis joined the United States Airforce and afterwards attended Cheyney State College, a popular HBCU in the Philadelphia area. He was adamant about completing his degree and worked two jobs while raising his children and attending school. In 1976, he earned a Bachelor of Science, Transportation degree and was immediately rewarded with a management position at Amtrak.

Always there to lend a helping hand when needed, Louis faithfully participated in activities at Ebenezer SDA Church, serving as both basketball coach and mentor. He enjoyed working with the young people of the church, and was always willing to listen and offer encouragement. In his later years, he volunteered as an after-school counselor helping young people with their academic progress.

Continuing the Thurman tradition of educational achievement, Jasper Academy offers a tuition-free enrichment program. We only ask that your child participate in a set number of online “Black cultural assemblies” offered throughout the academic session.

Jasper Academy is funded and supported by donations from the Thurman Foundation, private donors, and your generosity. The Thurman Foundation also supports perpetuating our unique legacy of Black music, by sponsoring African-American children in the fine arts of  Gospel and Jazz instrumental instruction. Please visit musiclegacy.org or thurmanfoundation.com for more information.


Jasper Academy
PO Box 5671
Somerset, NJ 08875