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Atlanta University

Atlanta University conducted its first classes in a railroad box car in 1865, offering primary and secondary schooling. Two years later it obtained a charter from the State of Georgia, and by 1876 it had awarded its first Bachelor of Arts degree. In 1894 all education below the high school level was discontinued, and by 1928 the University was accepting only students in the freshman and junior normal classification.

The affiliation with Morehouse and Spelman Colleges in 1929 enabled the University to concentrate its energies entirely upon graduate education. It awarded the first master's degree in 1931.

The University, which prepares students from 38 states and 27 foreign countries for leadership responsibilities, is composed of five fully-accredited professional schools: the School of Business Administration, the School of Education, the School of Library Service, the School of Social Work and the School of Arts and Sciences. Arts and Sciences at A.U. include Afro-American Studies, biology, chemistry, economics, English, history, foreign languages, mathematics, political science, public administration, social science, sociology and anthropology. Courses leading to the Ph.D. degree are offered in biology, guidance and counseling and political science. The Schools of Education and Library Service offer the Education Specialist degree (Ed.S.) and the Specialist in Library Service (S.L.S.) degree in school, public and academic library service, respectively. There are also programs leading to the Doctor of Education degree (Ed.D.) in educational administration and the Doctor of Arts Degree (D.A.) in chemistry.

In each of the five schools the emphasis is upon the development of liberally educated leadership. Motivating all instruction is a commitment to humane values and to the elimination of all forms of racism and injustice.

Atlanta University's service reaches beyond the campus borders through the provision of services to small businesses, urban transport and community organizations and through dual-degree programs with other Center institutions.

The stated purposes of the University include 1) the creation and maintenance of a climate that fosters maximum development of the individual personality; 2) the provision of opportunity for students to become intellectually and socially responsible leaders; 3) the preparation of students to live and work comfortably and effectively in the world and to contribute to society; 4) the continual re-examination of the educational program to maintain excellence and relevance; 5) the encouragement of research; 6) the offering of continuing education opportunities for all employees; 7) the promotion of faculty creativity in teaching and research; 8) service to the larger community; 9) the effective presentation of its programs to individuals and organization that can provide financial resources for the University's continued development.

The successful implementation of these purposes is evident in the impact that Atlanta University's graduates have made upon the national scene. By 1950, one of every three black Americans holding a master's degree was an A.U. graduate. At least one A.U. alumnus is now on the faculty at more than 100 American colleges and universities.

Clark College

Clark College was among the first institutions established by religious denominations after the Civil War to provide black Americans in the South with formal education. Clark University, as it was then called, was named after Bishop Davis W. Clark, first president of the Freedmen's Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church, under whose auspices the institution first operated.

The first class was held in 1869 in a sparsely furnished room in Clark Chapel Methodist Episcopal Church in Atlanta's Summerhill section. Although the first scant handful of students had little or no previous academic training, an early benefactor, Bishop Gilbert Haven, visualized Clark as the school that would "set the tone" for all other Methodist educational institutions for Negroes. 

Clark changed location several times during its early years, eventually acquiring 450 acres in South Atlanta in 1877. With this geographical shift came a gradual expansion in concept and purpose. The 1879 catalogue indicated emphasis upon the training of teachers and ministers—a giant leap forward, considering that the curriculum just a few years earlier was limited to vocational subjects and the rudiments of reading, spelling, grammar, arithmetic and geography.

Clark offered its first college degree in 1883 and in the years immediately following, Clark graduates became the presidents of Bennett, Philander Smith and Morris Brown Colleges. Also in 1883, Gammon School of Theology was established as a department of the University. Five years later it became an independent theological seminary.

For purposes of both fiscal and academic economy and efficiency, it was decided during the 1930's that the institution should join the Atlanta University complex. Work was begun across town on an entirely new physical plant adjoining the campuses of Atlanta University and Morehouse and Spelman Colleges. The move was made in 1941, at which time the university became a college.

Clark still dedicates itself to opportunity. The College's greatest pride is in the educational achievements of its graduates and their involvement in creative social change. Clark's priority concern to increase the career options of black Americans has led to the establishment of three new programs, providing training


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