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Talladega College


Historical Note

Established by the American Missionary Association in 1869 primarily for freedmen, Talladega remained a primary and secondary school until its first college-level students graduated in 1895. In the twentieth century, Talladega developed into a liberal arts college concentrating, until recently, on teacher training and general collegiate courses for those preparing to enter post-graduate professional schools.

In 1853, a group of slaves constructed a Baptist high school for boys in Talladega. Later in 1865, freedmen established a small school, to which the Cleveland Freedmen's Aid Commission, later part of the AMA, sent a teacher, Mrs. C. M. Hopson. Two years later, the AMA, with the help of the Freedmen's Bureau, established a school at the former Baptist high school. The building became known as Swayne Hall.

Talladega College was chartered in 1869. Democrats took control of the state government two years later, withdrew support form the school, and compelled it to assume control of the Negro public school in Talladega. The next year, the Freedmen's Bureau withdrew. After an effort by Talladega College to establish Congregational churches in the area, the Alabama Congregational Church Conference was organized in 1876.

The Rev. Henry Swift DeForest became Talladega College's first president in 1880 and began planning collegiate courses. The first collegiate degree from Talladega was granted in 1895. After forty years of growth in physical plant and enrollment, the student body in 1910 reached an all-time high of 857.

In 1916, Rev. Frederick Azel Sumner became president and began improving the campus. James Tate Cater became dean in 1918, later assuming most of the academic duties, leaving Sumner to fund-raising and preaching. Joseph Fletcher became Superintendent of Construction and Plant.

During the 1920s, the College expanded facilities and the development of academic programs. In 1931, Talladega College became the second African American school to receive the "A" rating from the Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools. Community extension activities began a year later. Rev. Buell G. Gallagher became president in 1934, implementing a more rigorous academic program. The interracial All-Alabama Religious Conference met for the first of many times at the College.

The College Council, an advisory committee of administration, faculty and students, was founded in 1936 to decide policy with trustee approval. The Second World War brought shortages of teachers and students. Gallagher resigned in 1943.

Rev. Adam Daniel Beittel became president in 1945. Beittel and James Tate Cater soon began feuding, and racial tension on the campus increased. In 1952, the trustees removed Beittel and Cater. Rev. Arthur D. Gray became the first black president.

The student senate formed in 1960, and the College held its first annual fine arts festival. The next year, students began engaging in civil rights activities. In 1963, the College began receiving federal funds, and Herman K. Long became the first layman to serve as president in1964.


American Missionary Association archives 1969 addendum

Found in 6 Collections and/or Records:

American Missionary Association archives addenda

 Collection — Multiple Containers
Identifier: 001-1
Scope and Contents The 1969 addendum and later addenda to the American Missionary Association archives are mostly twentieth century in scope, covering two main subject areas. The first is the association's numerous schools. These are considered "field" records, or, the fruits of the Association's missionary work outside of its New York City office. The Addendum is divided into three series: Series 1 covers field-related work, mainly the AMA schools; Series 2 covers projects that were run directly form the New...
Dates: Created: 1849-1991; Other: Date acquired: 03/31/1969

Ophelia Taylor Pinkard papers

Identifier: 300
Content Description The papers include correspondence, invitations, programs, clippings, scrapbooks, and other printed items regarding Talladega College, of which Pinkard is an alumnus. The papers also encompass materials about persons associated with Talladega College including Lillian Welch Voorhees, Edyth L. Ross, and Esther La Marr. Other materials document issues of the Talladegan, picture postcards of the campus, a program for the Negro Ensemble Company, Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority and Taylor's life in...
Dates: Other: 1921-1934, 1967-1984

Charles Rush papers

Identifier: 323
Content Description Includes correspondence, clippings, printed items, photographs, and other documents that were generated during the ministerial and educational career of Rev. Rush, a United Church of Christ clergyman. After he left Chicago, where he was pastor of a church, Rush was employed in the school system of Los Angeles. Other items relate to his fraternal and community activities. He was pastor of Lincoln Congregational Church in Chicago and a member of Omega Psi Phi fraternity. Printed items include...
Dates: Other: 1942-1977

Margaret Helen Scott papers

Identifier: 335
Scope and Contents

The Margarett Scott papers contain correspondence, newspaper clippings primarily containing aritlces about Scott, and other collected ephemera. The papers also contain photographic slides of Talledega, Alabama. Other materials include the story of early Richland County, Wisconsin, written by Scott and published weekly in "The Richland Observer" in 1975 and, an article on Lone Rock Congregational Church in the area.

Dates: Created: 1936-1977; Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1975

Reuben A. Sheares II papers

Identifier: 426
Scope and Contents The bulk of Sheares' papers include newsletters and publications from various organizations that Sheares was a member or supporter, as well as publications from various United Church of Christ (UCC) congregations. The papers focus mainly on theological issues and programs, including 122 audiocassettes of sermons that Sheares presented at the Congregational Church of Park Manor in Chicago from 1989-1992. Also included are notes and essays from classes in which Sheares was enrolled during the...
Dates: Created: 1952-1993; Other: Majority of material found in 1960-1980; Other: Date acquired: 05/27/2004

Lillian W. Voorhees papers

Identifier: 375
Scope and Contents The Lillian Welch Voorhees papers consist of 21.7 linear feet of items typical of the life of a 20th century educator. The collection also reflects Voorhees's literary and theatrical interests with examples of her own writings, as well as those of her students. Correspondence, 1900-1973 (ca. 8450 items), comprises the largest part of Voorhees's papers. Her literary efforts, 1907-71, are another large section. These include bibliographies; articles; a fragmentary autobiography and...
Dates: Created: 1892-1973; Other: Date acquired: 01/01/1970