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Mon, 04.03.1865

Virginia Union University is Founded

*On this date, in 1865, Virginia Union University (VUU) was founded.  This is a private, historically black university (HBCU) in Richmond, Virginia.

It changed its name in 1899 after merging two older schools, Richmond Theological Institute and Wayland Seminary.  Both were founded after the end of the American Civil War by the American Baptist Home Mission Society. In 1932, Hartshorn Memorial College, a women's college, merged with VUU.  The university was founded to give the newly emancipated slaves an opportunity for education of the mind in an ethical, religious environment.

Virginia Union University embraces the uniqueness and contributions of the African Diaspora, celebrating the value of cultural and intellectual diversity, and enrollment is open to all students without regard to racial background.  The university provides comprehensive undergraduate liberal arts programs and graduate education for Christian ministries. To this end, a guiding principle of the university's educational program is a strong focus on moral values and ethics. Students are encouraged to engage in activities that promote self-actualization.  

The American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS) founded the school in 1865, shortly after Union troops took control of Richmond, Virginia, at the end of the American Civil War.  Soon, the proposed mission was expanded to offer courses and programs at college, high school, and preparatory levels to both men and women. This effort was the beginning of Virginia Union University.

Separate branches of the National Theological Institute were set up in Washington, D.C., and Richmond, Virginia, with classes beginning in 1867. In Washington, the school became known as Wayland Seminary, commemorating Dr. Francis Wayland, former president of Brown University and a leader in the anti-slavery struggle. Dr. George Mellen Prentiss King was the first and only president who administered Wayland for thirty years. Famous students included Booker T. Washington and Adam Clayton Powell, Sr.  In Richmond, the efforts were more difficult. Beginning in 1867, Colver Institute, a VUU predecessor school, was housed in a building long known as Lumpkin's Jail, a former "slave jail" owned by Mary Ann Lumpkin, the African American widow of the deceased white owner.

In 1899, the Richmond Theological Institute (formerly Colver Institute) joined with Wayland Seminary of Washington to form Virginia Union University at Richmond.  In 1932, the women's college Hartshorn Memorial College, established in Richmond in 1883, became a part of Virginia Union University. Storer College, a historically Black Baptist college in West Virginia (founded in 1867), merged its endowment with Virginia Union in 1964.  

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Black is what the prisons are, The stagnant vortex of the hours Swept into totality, Creeping in the perjured heart, Bitter in the vulgar rhyme, Bitter on the walls; Black is where the devils... THE AFRICAN AFFAIR by Bruce M. Wright.
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