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LeMoyne-Owen College


Historical Note

LeMoyne was founded in 1871 by the American Missionary Association as a primary and normal school for training freedmen. It continued to function primarily as a teacher training school until the 1930s, when it became a four-year college. In the late 1960s, it merged with S.A. Owen Junior College of the Tennessee Baptist Church to become LeMoyne-Owen College, a coeducational, non-sectarian but Christian-church affiliated liberal arts college.

In 1862, Lucinda Humphrey, under commission from the AMA, opened a school for contrabands of the Civil War behind Union lines near Memphis. She later relocated the school into the city. The AMA built Lincoln Chapel as both a church and school in 1866, operating it alternately with the city. The Lincoln Chapel school was replaced in 1871 by the LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School, funded by a donation of Dr. Francis Julius LeMoyne, a Washington, Pennsylvania, physician. By his stipulation, the school was non-sectarian, open to all colors, sexes, and classes, and intended for practical training.

In 1901, LeMoyne Normal Institute opened the first secondary school for African Americans in Memphis. The school moved to its present site in 1914, during the tenure of Principal Ludwig Larson. After a study on the need for an African American college in the area, President E. J. Ortman began the junior college program in 1924, which was accredited by the state in 1930 and permitted to grant teacher certificates.

After a second study by President Frank Sweeney in 1932 on the need for a local African American college, LeMoyne eliminated primary and secondary classes and became a four-year college. It was accredited by the state at the end of the first school year. The Southern Association of Colleges and Secondary Schools designated LeMoyne an "A"-rated college in 1935.

In 1943, Hollis F. Price became LeMoyne's first African American president. The school merged with S.A. Owen Junior College in 1968, which had opened fourteen years earlier in 1954. The decade of the 1970s saw the tenures of president by Odell Horton (1970) and Walter Walker (1974).


American Missionary Association archives 1969 addendum

Found in 7 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

Clarence Christian papers

Identifier: 692
Content Description

The papers of educator Clarence Christian include correspondence, news clippings, and collected materials related to his involvement with LeMoyne-Owen College; the Second Congregational Church in Memphis, Tennessee; National Collegiate Honors Council; and Alpha Kappa Alpha. Collected materials include biographical information on Ernest Columbus Withers and Lewis O. Swingler. Of note are a series of letters from Christian’s former professor, Clifton H. Johnson.

Dates: Other: 1970-2008

Velma Lois Jones papers

Identifier: 610
Content Description

Velma Lois Jones is a teacher in the Memphis School District and member of the NAACP, the LeMoyne-Owen College Alumni Association, and Alpha Kappa Alpha Sorority, Inc. The collection contains material on the activities of the alumni association, NAACP, and Alpha Kappa Alpha, as well as material from her teaching and volunteer efforts.

Dates: Other: 1950-1992

Myron Lowery papers

Identifier: 590
Content Description Myron Lowery has served in a wealth of philanthropic and civic organizations. Councilman Lowery was first elected in October 1991 as the only African American to be elected At-Large, as well as from a Super District for the city. Lowery obtained degrees from LeMoyne-Owen College, New York University, and the University of Tennessee. He is the Manager of Corporate Communications for the FedEx Corporation. Lowery also served as Press Secretary for Congressman Harold Ford and was a...
Dates: Other: 1991-2000

Theodore Roosevelt McLemore oral history interview

Identifier: 2123
Content Description

This collection contains an oral history interview with Theodore Roosevelt McLemore conducted by Clifton H. Johnson. McLemore, a longtime trustee of LeMoyne College and LeMoyne-Owen College, discusses his life growing up in Tennessee, family history, and the development of the college under various administrators, including Frederick Leslie Brownlee, Frank Sweeney, and Hollis Price.

Dates: Other: 1988

Mary Thomas collection on LeMoyne-Owen College

Identifier: 615
Content Description

Mary Ford Thomas attended Le-Moyne-Owen College in Memphis, Tennessee, and was active in alumni affairs. This collection consists of the issues of the school's bulletin and catalogs, correspondence, newsletters, memorabilia, publications, minutes, as well as a constitution and by-laws.

Dates: Other: 1958-2001

Juanita V. Williamson collection

 Collection — Container: 1 folder
Identifier: 2132

This collection documents the life and career of educator and linguist Juanita V. Williamson.

Dates: Created: 1985-1988; Other: Date acquired: 08/01/1985

Additional filters:

African American educators 1
African American history 1
African American politicians 1
African Americans -- Education 1
African Americans -- Tennessee -- Memphis -- Politics and government 1