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Thu, 04.04.1872

Paul Quinn College is Founded

*On this date in 1872, Paul Quinn College (PQC) is a private Historically Black College (HBCU) in Dallas, Texas. The college is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME).

It is the oldest Historically Black College west of the Mississippi River and the nation's first urban work college.  The college was founded in Waco, Texas, by a small group of African Methodist Episcopal preachers at Metropolitan A.M.E. Church. Originally, the college was called the Connectional High School and Institute. The school’s original purpose was to educate freedmen and their children.  The College was renamed Waco College. Classes were held in a modest one-building trade school; freedmen were taught the skills of blacksmithing, carpentry, tanning, and saddle work, common occupations for the area, especially in the increasingly segregated state.

This was the model established by the Tuskegee Institute. Later, under the direction of Bishop William Paul Quinn, A.M.E. districts were developed throughout the South and tasked with raising funds to improve the College. During this period, more than twenty acres of additional land were purchased, and the curriculum was expanded to include the classical subjects of Latin, mathematics, music, theology, and English, plus vocational skills in carpentry, sewing, and household, kitchen, and dining room work. In May 1881, the College was chartered by the State of Texas and changed its name to Paul Quinn College to commemorate the contributions of Bishop Quinn.  

The College relocated to southeast Dallas, Texas, in 1990. It acquired the former campus of Bishop College from African American businessman Comer J. Cottrell.  During the first semester in its new home, the College boasted an enrollment of 1,020 students and became the only HBCU in the Dallas-Fort Worth area.  In 2006, Board of Trustees member Peggy Sterling and her employer, American Airlines, secured the services of the global management-consulting firm the Boston Consulting Group (BCG) to analyze the operations and performance of the College. BCG’s work ultimately provided the Institution with a blueprint that became the College’s Strategic Plan from 2007-2012. 

 From there, the WE over Me Farm at Paul Quinn College, formerly called the Food for Good Farm at Paul Quinn College, began as an answer to the food desert conditions in the Southern sector of Dallas.  In 2008, college president Michael Sorrell, who had shuttered the school's football program shortly after taking office in 2007, talked with a real estate investor about devoting a tract of land to community farming. Although the idea of using the former football field was initially a joke by Sorrell, it soon became reality.  

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