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February Nine...

Elizabeth City State University

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

Dillard University

In 1869, with the support of the Missionary Association of the Congregational Church (now the United Church of Christ) and the Freedman’s Aid Society of the United Methodist Church, Straight University and Union Normal School were founded. Later, they were renamed Straight College and New Orleans University, respectively.

Gilbert Academy, a secondary school, was a unit of New Orleans University. Straight College operated a law department from 1874 to 1886. New Orleans University in 1889 opened a medical department, including a school of pharmacy and a school of nursing. The medical department was named Flint Medical College and the affiliated hospital was named the Sarah Goodridge Hospital and Nurse Training School. The medical college was discontinued in 1911, but the hospital, including the nursing school, was continued under the name Flint Goodridge Hospital.

In 1930, New Orleans University and Straight College merged to form Dillard University. The trustees of the new university called for the implementation of a coeducational, interracial school, serving a predominantly African American student body adhering to Christian principles and values. The university was named in honor of James Hardy Dillard, a distinguished academician dedicated to educating African Americans.

Dillard students continue to excel academically, winning major awards such as the Luard Scholarship and gaining placement in prestigious graduate programs throughout the nation.

University of the District of Columbia

The University of the District of Columbia is historic and modern, all at the same time. Public higher education in the District originated in 1851 when Myrtilla Miner founded a “school for colored girls” in Washington, DC. In 1879, Miner Normal School joined the DC public school system. Similarly, Washington Normal School was established in 1873, as a school for white girls. The latter institution was renamed Wilson Normal School in 1913, after James O. Wilson, Washington’s first superintendent of public schools. In 1929, Congress enacted a statute that converted both normal schools into four-year teacher’s colleges. For several years, Miner Teachers College and Wilson Teachers College were the only institutions of public higher education in the city. After the landmark U.S. Supreme Court school desegregation decision, Brown v. Board of Education (U.S. 1954), the two colleges merged in 1955 to form the District of Columbia Teacher’s College. Over the next decade, D.C. residents petitioned for an expansion of higher education that would provide training for careers other than teaching. In 1966, Congress enacted the District of Columbia Public Education Act, which established Federal City College and Washington Technical Institute.

Although these schools were still very new, many Washingtonians continued to advocate for a comprehensive university. The City Council authorized the consolidation of the three schools, and in 1976, began the monumental task of creating a new University of the District of Columbia. In 1977, under President Carter’s leadership, UDC began consolidating its academic programs. These efforts culminated in the establishment of five colleges: Business and Public Management; Education and Human Ecology; Liberal and Fine Arts; Life Sciences; Physical Science, Engineering, and Technology; and University College and Continuing Education.

Edward Waters College

Edward Waters College (EWC) is, distinctively, Florida’s oldest independent institution of higher learning as well as the state’s first institution established for the education of African Americans.

Edward Waters College began as an institution founded by blacks, for blacks. In 1865, following the Civil War, the Reverend Charles H. Pearce, a presiding elder of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church, was sent to Florida by Bishop Daniel Alexander Payne. Observing the fast-paced social and political changes of the Reconstruction era, Rev. Pearce immediately recognized the need for an education ministry, as no provision had yet been made for the public education of Florida’s newly emancipated blacks. Assisted by the Reverend William G. Steward, the first AME pastor in the state, Pearce began to raise funds to build a school.

This school, established in 1866, was to eventually evolve into Edward Waters College. From the beginning, EWC was faced with both abject poverty and widespread illiteracy among its constituents resulting from pre-war conditions of servitude and historical, legally enforced non-schooling of African Americans. However, the school met the needs of its community by offering courses at the elementary, high school, college, and seminary levels. Construction of the first building began in October 1872 on ten acres of land in Live Oak. Further support for this new educational institution.

Elizabeth City State University

Founding
On March 3, 1891, Hugh Cale, an African-American representative in the N.C. General Assembly from Pasquotank County, sponsored House Bill 383, which established a normal (teaching) school for “teaching and training teachers of the colored race to teach in the common schools of North Carolina.” The bill passed, and the origin of Elizabeth City State University was born. The institution's first name was Elizabeth City State Colored Normal School (1891-1939).

Early Leadership
The first leader, Peter W. Moore, was called a Principal (subsequent leaders would be called President, then Chancellor). Moore served as Principal and then President until his retirement as President, Emeritus, on July 1, 1928. During his tenure, enrollment increased from 23 to 355 and the faculty from two to 15 members. During the tenure of the second president, John Henry Bias, the institution was elevated from a two-year normal school to a four-year teachers college (1937). Two years later, the institution’s name was officially changed to Elizabeth City State Teachers College (1939-1963). The growth and elevation to teachers college changed the mission to include training elementary school principals for rural and city schools. The first Bachelor of Science degrees in elementary education were awarded in May of 1939.

Continued Growth
Between 1959 and 1963, the institution became more than a teaching college, adding 11 academic majors to the original elementary education major. In 1961, the college joined the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools accrediting group (SACS) and maintains its accreditation with that body to the present. In 1963, the N.C. General Assembly changed the institution’s name from Elizabeth City State Teachers College to Elizabeth City State College (1963-1969) and on, July 1, 1969, the college became Elizabeth City State University. In 1971, the General Assembly redefined the University of North Carolina system with 16 public institutions, including ECSU. Together, those institutions became constituents of The University of North Carolina (July 1972).

Today
Academics. Currently ECSU offers 27 baccalaureate, professional, and 4 master's degrees for a diverse student body. We achieve our commitment to the highest quality education by maintaining a rigorous focus on academic excellence through liberal arts programs and using innovative and flexible technology-based instruction models to enhance our signature areas: integrating technology with education, improving human health and wellness, and advancing the natural and aviation sciences. As of May 2018, undergraduate and/or graduate degrees have been conferred upon more than 20,000 students.
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