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Wilburforce University
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THE Wilberforce University, located in Green County near Xenia, Ohio, cannot be considered one of the state educational institutions, except that it has been receiving state assistance in establishing and maintaining an industrial department since 1887. The University is for colored youth and affords an opportunity for extending industrial training to colored youth, such as is not found in other institutions in the state./p>

The following brief history of this institution is a matter of historical value:

On September 28, 1853, the Cincinnati Conference of the M. E. Church selected a committee which recommended "the establishment of a literary institution of high order for the education of colored people generally"; and in May, 1856, "Tawawa Springs," a beautiful summer resort in Green Co., Ohio, was purchased, and Wilberforce University was organized. By concurrent action, the M. E. and the A. M. E. Conferences of Ohio entered into co-operation for the success of the University. It was incorporated August 30, 1856, and a board of twenty-four trustees selected, including Governor Salmon P. Chase, President R. S. Rust,, Ashland Keith, of the colored Baptist denomination, and D. A. Payne; and the broad principle adopted that there shall never be any distinction among the trustees, faculty or students, on account of race, color or creed.

The University began its work in Oct, 1856, Under Rev. M. P. Gaddis, as principal. He was succeeded by Professor James K. Parker, and he by Dr. Richard S. Rust, the first president. During the first epoch, which terminated with the Civil War, the number of students, largely the children of southern planters, varied from seventy to one hundred. Commendable progress was made in literary culture. The War closed the school and the M. E. Church with drew from the field.

On March 10, 1863, D. A. Payne purchased the property for $10,000, and associated with himself James A. Shorter and Professor John G. Mitchell, in the re-organizing of the University. It is the oldest college for negroes in this country. Congress in 1870, appropriated $25,000; Chief Justice Salmon P. Chase bequeathed $10,000; the Charles Avery estate added $10,000, and the American Unitarian Association gave for lectures, $6,000 to the University.

On March 19, 1887, the Legislature of the State of Ohio came to our aid, helping us in establishing a Normal and Industrial Department, and is appropriating now, $17,000 per annum to the University. On January 9, 1894, President Cleveland detailed Lieutenant John H. Alexander, a West point graduate, to organize and instruct the Military Department of Wilberforce University, and the United States Government is still maintaining this department. At the breaking out of the Spanish-American War, Wilberforce furnished some of the best negro soldiers that went to the front, a number of whom are fighting for the flag in the Philippines to-day.

The University has received from all sources since organization, $513,202.80. Six thousand and six negro youths have attended the University, most of them coming from the South. Two hundred and sixty-six have graduated from our literary courses, and are now preaching and teaching in the South; striving to help solve the race question. Two hundred and ten have graduated from the Industrial Department, and are now engaged in the useful trades. It is the pride of the University that it has always been the aim and object to contribute her full share to the intellectual, moral, physical, and industrial uplift of the negro, and thereby assist in removing the standing menace to our American institutions,—the race problem.

For additional historical information see:

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