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Rust College, one of the first Black institutions of higher education in Mississippi, was founded on this date in 1866. It is among over 100 Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) in America.
Rust College was organized by missionaries from the North who opened a school in Asbury Methodist Episcopal Church, where Moses Adams, a local Black preacher, was pastor. The school accepted adults of all ages, as well as children, for instruction in elementary subjects. A year later, the first building on the present campus was erected.
In 1870, the school was chartered as Shaw University, honoring the Reverend S.O. Shaw, who gave $10,000 to the new institution. In 1882, the name was changed to Rust University, a tribute to Richard S. Rust of Cincinnati, OH, Secretary of the Freedman's Aid Society. In 1915, the title was changed to a more realistic name, Rust College.
Rust College is the oldest of the 11 HBCUs related to the United Methodist Church, the second oldest private college in Mississippi, and one of the remaining five historically Black Colleges in America founded before 1867.