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Tue, 01.09.1866

Fisk University Begins Classes

Fisk University in Nashville, TN, was founded on this date in 1866.  It is one of over 100 historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) in America.

American prohibitionist Clinton Bowen Fisk, the American Missionary Association of New York, and the Western Freedman’s Aid Commission of Cincinnati established the school as the Fisk School for Freedmen.

Fisk awards Bachelor's and Master’s degrees in a wide range of fields. A joint degree in engineering is offered in cooperation with other universities, including Vanderbilt, Florida A&M, and the University of Alabama in Huntsville.

The Cravath Memorial Library houses a collection of murals by 20th-century African American painter Aaron Douglas, and the university library houses a special collection on Black culture. Fisk also houses the Stieglitz Art Collection, donated to the university by painter Georgia O’Keefe, and a collection of the works of composer W.C. Handy. Other research facilities at the university include the Fisk Race Relations Institute, the Fisk National Aeronautics and Space Administration Center for Photonic Materials and Devices, and the Howard Hughes Science Learning Center.

Some notable alumni from Fisk University include historian W.E.B. Du Bois, poet Nikki Giovanni, Politician, Hazel O’Leary, and David Levering Lewis, the Pulitzer Prize winner for biography in 1994


Black American Colleges and Universities:
Profiles of Two-Year, Four-Year, & Professional Schools
by Levirn Hill, Pub., Gale Group, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-864984-2

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