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Byrd Prillerman

Booker T. Washington, Byrd Prillerman and Kelly Miller

Booker T. Washington, Byrd Prillerman and Kelly Miller

If the student of American history would know what freedom has meant to the Negro race, let him study the life of a man like Byrd Prillerman, B.S., A.M., Litt.D., President Emeritus West Virginia Collegiate Institute and Superintendent of work among the Negroes of West Virginia S. S. Association. Having been born a slave on October 19, 1859 his life covers the whole period of the freedom of his race in America.

His rise from poverty and obscurity to a place of leadership and large usefulness as a citizen, not only makes a fascinating story, but it is in a way, typical of the progress of the race since Emancipation. Mr. Prillerman is a native of the Old Dominion, having been born in Franklin County, Va., the youngest of a family of seventeen children. His father, Franklin Prillerman, was a man of intelligence, energy, and initiative. He was a blacksmith and even before the Civil War had been sent into the Kanawha Valley to work at his trade.  Continue reading

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays

Dr. Benjamin Elijah Mays was a giant in the Christian ministry and American education. He is remembered for his outstanding leadership and service as a teacher, preacher, mentor, scholar, author and activist in the civil rights movement.

Born August 1, 1894 near Epworth, South Carolina, he was a Phi Beta Kappa graduate of Bates College in Maine. He served as pastor of Shiloh Baptist Church from 1921-1923 in Atlanta, Georgia. Recruited by Morehouse President John Hope, Mays would join the faculty as a mathematics teacher and debate coach. He obtained a master’s degree in 1925 and in 1935 a Ph.D. degree from the University of Chicago. In 1934, he was appointed dean of the School of Religion at Howard University and served until 1940.  Continue reading

Medical School at Howard University

howard uOn November 9th, 1868, Howard University opened their medical school with eight students and five faculty members.

Among the eight students, seven were black and one was white. Out of the five faculty members, just one was black, Dr. Alexander Thomas Augusta — the first black Lieutenant Colonel and first Black surgeon in the U.S. Army.  Continue reading

Howard University


Young men prepare to receive their degrees from Howard University in June 1942

Young men prepare to receive their degrees from Howard University in June 1942

On November 20, 1866, 10 members of the First Congregational Society of Washington, D.C., gathered for a missionary meeting. That evening, they decided to establish a seminary for the training of African American preachers. By early 1867, the founders had broadened their mission to include a liberal arts college and university. They decided to name the university for Major General Oliver O. Howard, a Civil War hero and Commissioner of the Freedmen’s Bureau, a U.S. government agency established in 1865 to aid freed blacks. Howard was also one of the early founders of the institution in Washington.   Continue reading

Fisk University

“In 1865, barely six months after the end of the Civil War and just two years after the Emancipation Proclamation, three men”John Ogden, the Reverend Erastus Milo Cravath, and the Reverend Edward P. Smith ”established the Fisk School in Nashville.

The school was named in honor of General Clinton B. Fisk of the Tennessee Freedmen’s Bureau, who provided the new institution with facilities in former Union Army barracks near the present site of Nashville’s Union Station. In these facilities Fisk convened its first classes on January 9, 1866. The first students ranged in age from seven to seventy, but shared common experiences of slavery and poverty ” and an extraordinary thirst for learning. Continue reading

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Upcoming Black History Posts
  • Reuben V. Anderson
  • Montgomery Bus Boycott
  • March On Washingtion – 1963
  • L Douglas Wilder
  • James H. Meredith
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  • National Negro Medical Association
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