By FREDERICK HARRELL
The Dallas Examiner
Did you know Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Texas began establishing themselves in the 1800s?
The effects of the Civil War left African Americans in a very difficult position when fighting for equal rights, especially pertaining to education. Many White lawmakers in Texas worked hard to pass statutes that kept education in the state segregated and unequal. With the help of numerous aid groups, church organizations, philanthropists and Black leaders, all-Black private and public colleges began to develop and give hope to Black life.
These schools were built to assist and guide Black people through basic level education and agricultural skills as freed individuals.
The first Black institute established in Texas was Paul Quinn College. Founded in Austin in 1872 classes were held in a church. After five years, it was moved to Waco where it would educate the Black youth for over 100 years. It became an official charter in 1881 and was renamed after its fourth president, William Paul Quinn. The campus relocated for a third time to the Dallas area in 1990.
Wiley College was founded in 1873 in Marshall. It was named after the Methodist Episcopal Church’s minister, Bishop Isaac Wiley.
Huston-Tillotson University was originally two separate college, Tillotson University and Samuel Huston College. Tillotson University was the third Black institute. Established in 1877 in Austin by the American Missionary Association, it was named after congregationalist minister George Jeffrey Tillotson. Samuel Huston College began as a school for Black youth in Dallas. It relocated to Austin in 1878 as a college and renamed Andrews Normal College. Samuel Huston, a wealthy White farmer, donated his farm and land to the college in 1887. Upon its move, it was renamed in his honor. The two schools merged in 1952.
It wasn’t until the following year in 1878, where state funds helped build Prairie View A&M University. It was the fourth Black university, but the first to be a public institution.
Texas College was founded in 1894 in the northern area of Tyler. Lying on 101 acres of land, it became the third Black-controlled institution to be founded by a Black church.
St. Philip’s Community College was established in 1898 by Rev. James Steptoe Johnston.
Jarvis Christian College was established in 1912 in Hawkins and only had a total of 12 students. In 2017, it launched a satellite Dallas campus at the Redbird Center Mall. In May 2022, it announced its university accreditation.
In 1927, the Houston Public School Board helped shape Texas Southern University and ushered in 100 academic programs, including the Thurgood Marshall School of Law.
The last historic Black school founded in Texas was Southwestern Christian College in 1948, sponsored by members of the Church of Christ.
Despite HBCUs lacking resources and funds, these prolific schools have fought adversities by sticking together and making the most out of every inch they were given. The institutes went from being educational outposts for Black men and women to developing lawyers, doctors, scientists, educators, athletes and entertainment moguls.
There were many other Black-led institutes developed in Texas that eventually closed as years passed. Colleges like Bishop College, Guadalupe College, Mary Allen College, Andrews Normal College and Butler College didn’t make it out of the 20th century.
Today, HBCUs continue to push the younger generations forward as they continue to bring forth new leaders.
Source: Texas Handbook Online
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