Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune, Founder of Bethune-Cookman University. Bio and link to image below

Topics: African Americans, Civil Rights, Education, Human Rights, Women's Rights

Arkansas Baptist College

History & Mission
Arkansas Baptist College, originally named the Minister’s Institute, was founded in 1884 by the Colored Baptists of Arkansas during their annual convention at Mount Zion Baptist Church in Little Rock. The primary objective of the institute was to raise the educational level within the Negro ministry. The secondary objective was to aid the state in making higher education available to young Negro men and women. Most of the school’s students were trained in the ministry and today, Religious Studies continues to be one of the College’s major areas of matriculation.

In April 1885, the College’s name was changed to Arkansas Baptist College, and the school moved to 16th and High Street where the campus is currently located; however, the formal address is now 1621 Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., Drive.

Thirteen presidents have served as institutional leaders of Arkansas Baptist College from 1887 through 2016. In August 2016, The Arkansas Baptist College Board of Trustees selected Dr. Joseph L. Jones as the College’s 14th President. As president, Dr. Jones’ promise to the College is to continue the College’s efforts to remain steadfast in its journey becoming recognized as an outstanding institution of higher education.

Arkansas Baptist College is an urban Historically Black College located in the historic Little Rock Central High District. It also neighbors the Wright Avenue District and the famous Paul Lawrence Dunbar Junior High School. The College is the only Baptist affiliated Historically Black College west of the Mississippi and has a student population close to one thousand from all across the United States. Founded in 1884 as the Minister’s Institute, the College continues to be supported by the Consolidated Missionary Baptist State Convention.

Barbara-Scotia College

Our Mission
"Barber-Scotia College strives to provide a learning environment for the total development of students to realize their potential and capabilities through post-secondary education, gaining marketable skills, aesthetic awareness and recognition of social responsibility and accountability, enabling them to become successful and productive citizens of the counties of which they reside and work."

Barber-Scotia College is strengthening the ties in fulfilling its mission to provide a cadre of educated Leaders. The College prepares students to create jobs.

Our Vision
Barber-Scotia College aspires to be a preeminent leader, recognized for preparing a workforce of "Next Generation Leaders" in the Energy and Business Entrepreneurship sectors.

Benedict College

Founded in 1870 by a woman, Bathsheba A. Benedict, Benedict College is a private co-educational liberal arts institution with 2,100 students enrolled in its 34 baccalaureate degree programs during the 2017-2018 academic year.

Benedict College, originally Benedict Institute, was founded 148 years ago under the auspices of the American Baptist Home Mission Society. As Benedict’s first philanthropist, Mrs. Benedict of Pawtucket, Rhode Island, provided $13,000 towards the purchase of an 80-acre plantation near Columbia, South Carolina as the site for a new school for the recently freed people of African descent. Benedict Institute, operating in a former slave master’s mansion, was established, in the words of its founder to prepare men and women to be a “power for good in society.”

During the first quarter century of its existence, Benedict Institute directed its educational programs to the severely limited economic and social conditions of the black population in the South. The Institute’s original objective was to educate and train teachers and preachers, therefore, Benedict’s first curriculum included reading, writing, spelling, arithmetic, and religion. Later, the curriculum was expanded to include traditional college disciplines, which also included an industrial department offering carpentry, shoemaking, printing, and painting.

On November 2, 1894, the South Carolina Legislature chartered the institution as a liberal arts college and the name “Benedict Institute” was formally changed to “Benedict College.”

From its founding, Benedict College was led by a succession of northern white Baptist ministers and educators. However, the year 1930 signaled the succession of African-American male presidents that continued until June 30, 2017, when Dr. Roslyn Clark Artis was unanimously appointed by the Benedict College Board of Trustees as the 14th President of Benedict College. She is the fourteenth and first-female President in the 148-year history of the college.

Benedict College has been highly regarded and exceptionally ranked for its programs by several academic and traditional publications. For example, Benedict College was ranked as one of the top baccalaureate colleges in the nation by Washington Monthly magazine for creating social mobility, producing cutting-edge scholarship, and research.

Benedict offers several high-demand fields of study in STEM, Cyber Security, Mass Communication, Sport Management, Business Administration, Engineering, Computer Science, Biology, and Education. Benedict has a diverse faculty of which 80 percent are full-time, and 60 percent hold doctorates or the equivalent.

Bethune-Cookman University

Born on a farm near Mayesville, South Carolina in 1875, Mary McLeod Bethune, the 15th child of former slaves, rose from humble beginnings to become a world-renowned educator, civil and human rights leader, champion for women and young people, and an advisor to five U.S. presidents.

Education was the first step in her remarkable journey. The young Mary McLeod worked in the fields alongside her parents and siblings, until she enrolled at the age of 10 in the one-room Trinity Presbyterian Mission School. There, she learned to read, and, as she later noted, the whole world opened to me. She went on to study at Scotia Seminary in North Carolina and Moody Bible Institute in Chicago with the goal of becoming a missionary. When no missionary openings were available, she became a teacher, first at the Haines Institute in Augusta, Georgia and then at the Kendall Institute in Sumpter, South Carolina, where she met and married Albertus Bethune. The dream of opening her own school took Mary McLeod Bethune to Florida first to Palatka and then to Daytona Beach, where she started the school that would become Bethune-Cookman University.

On October 3, 1904, a very determined young black woman, Mary McLeod Bethune, opened the Daytona Literary and Industrial Training School for Negro Girls with $1.50, faith in God and five little girls: Lena, Lucille, and Ruth Warren, Anna Geiger and Celest Jackson. Through Dr. Bethune’s lifetime the school underwent several stages of growth and development and on May 24, 1919, the Daytona Educational and Industrial Institute was changed to Daytona Normal and Industrial Institute. In 1923 the school merged with Cookman Institute of Jacksonville, Florida (founded in 1872) and became co-ed while it also gained the prestigious United Methodist Church affiliation. Although the merger of Bethune’s school and Cookman Institute began in 1923, it was not finalized until 1925 when both schools collaborated to become the Daytona-Cookman Collegiate Institute. In 1931, the College became accredited by the Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools of the Southern States, as a Junior College with class B status, and on April 27, 1931, the school’s name was officially changed to Bethune-Cookman College to reflect the leadership of Dr. Mary McLeod Bethune.

In 1936, Dr. Bethune was appointed administrative assistant for Negro Affairs (her title changed in 1939 to Director of the Division of Negro Affairs) of the National Youth Administration (NYA) making her the first African American women to head a federal agency. As of result of this position, much needed government funds were funneled into the school. While traveling with the NYA Dr. Bethune appointed Mr. Abram L. Simpson as acting president from 1937-39. In 1941, the Florida State Department of Education approved a 4-year baccalaureate program offering liberal arts and teacher education. Dr. Bethune retired in 1942 at which time James E. Colston became president until 1946 when Dr. Bethune resumed the presidency for a year.

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