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Tue, 03.20.1849

The Allegheny Institute is Chartered

*On this date in 1849, the Allegheny Institute was chartered.  Along with the institute he included Mission Church, both north of Pittsburgh.  

Charles Avery funded this school with the aim of offering elementary and advanced education to qualified Black students without regard to sex.  Both the racial and the coeducational features of the program were controversial, and the school's connection to Pittsburgh's A.M.E. Zion Church assured a strong religious influence in the officially nonsectarian institute. (Religious affiliation was not to be a consideration in admission decisions, but instructors were expected to be professing Christians.). A three-story brick structure was erected according to Avery's specifications, with the top floor reserved for Christian education.

Legend has it the basement was used as a station on the Underground Railroad. The same year Charles Avery died (1858) the Allegheny Institute became Avery College, with the intention of offering a liberal arts education "in the various branches of science, literature, and ancient and modern languages." 

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