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Tuskegee Institute


Tuskegee Institute had its beginning when two residents of Macon County, Mr. George Campbell, white, and Mr. Lewis Adams, Negro, feeling the need of an educational institution in Macon County, wrote General Armstrong at Hampton Institute asking that a teacher be sent to Tuskegee, Alabama.  Booker T. Washington came in answer to that call.

In 1881, in an old church with thirty students and as the only teacher, Booker T. Washington began what is now Tuskegee Institute.  In 1881, the Alabama Legislature passed an act permitting the establishment of a normal school at Tuskegee and made an annual appropriation of $2,000 to aid in the work.  From this humble and simple beginning in the old church, which leaked during every rain and with pupils whose work at home kept them in irregular attendance, Tuskegee Institute has become an institution with an annual enrollment of over 2,000 students and a physical plant of 132 buildings.   Booker T. Washington, with dauntless courage and indomitable perseverance, planned, organized and developed an institution to meet the needs of Negroes in the South.  Such a tremendous undertaking with little or no resources was like "making brick without straw." His was a two-fold task--that of procuring facilities for industrial education, and that of convincing Negroes and white people that such a type of education was necessary.

Through the help and co-operation of faithful and courageous friends, North and South, Tuskegee Institute, under the leadership of Booker T. Washington, grew to be a useful educational institution.  It has through the years continued to render useful service as an active agency in the promotion of better race relations.  Tuskegee Institute is recognized today as an educational and social force active in the solution of minority group problems.

Tuskegee Institute, Alabama, on U. S. Highway No. 80 and U. S. Highway No. 29.
Faculty and Staff--All Negro 217
Enrollment--Co-educational 2800
Number of Buildings 132
Total Acreage 3550

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History of Wilberforce University

The founding of the present Wilberforce may be traced to the African Methodist Church in 1844, the Methodist Episcopal Church in 1844, and Bishop Daniel A. Payne in 1863.

On September 21, 1844, the Ohio Conference of the African Methodist Episcopal Church appointed a committee to select a site for a seminary of learning.  As a result of the work of this committee the Church purchased one hundred seventy-two acres of land situated twelve miles west of Columbus and established an academic and manual training school known as the Union Seminary.

On September 28, 1853, a committee appointed by the Cincinnati Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church recommended that a literary school for the higher education of Negroes be established.  In May, 1856, this church purchased Tawawa Springs, a health resort next to Xenia, the present seat of Green County, Ohio, and there established such a school naming it in honor of William Wilberforce, the English abolitionist and statesman.  By concurrent action, the African Methodist Episcopal Church and the Methodist Episcopal Church undertook the co-operative maintenance of the institution.  Among the first trustees were Governor Salmon P. Chase, President Richard S. Rust, Ashland Keith, and Daniel A. Payne.

On March 10, 1863, Bishop Payne purchased Wilberforce for the African Methodist Episcopal Church at a cost of $10,000.  He became the first president of the reorganized Wilberforce University and selected as his associates the Reverend Mr. James A. Shorter and Professor John Mitchell.  Money secured from the sale of the Union Seminary and the transfer of the faculty and the student body from that institution contributed toward the larger Wilberforce University.

In the early development of the University the following departments were organized:  The Theological in 1865, The Classical and Scientific in 1867, The Normal and Industrial in 1872, and the Military in 1894. On March 19, 1887, the Ohio Legislature passed a law which established as a part of the University, the Combined Normal and Industrial Departments under a separate board of nine members.

The University is organized into two main divisions, the College of Liberal Arts and the College of Education. The functions of these two colleges are discussed in detail in the catalogue.

Wilberforce University is accredited as a standard institution by the North Central Association of Colleges and Secondary schools, by the Department of Education of the State of Ohio, and by the American Medical Association.  It has also membership in the Association of American Colleges and the Association of Colleges for Negro Youth.
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