Talladega College's History
Posted By: Sofía Montiel on January 24, 2023 |
The history of Talladega College began on November 20, 1865, when two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, both of Talladega, met at the convention with a group of freedmen in Mobile. From this meeting came the commitment.
Savery and Tarrant, aided by General Wager Swayne of the Freedmen's Bureau, began to provide a school for the children of former slaves of the community. Their leadership resulted in the construction of a one-room schoolhouse, using lumber salvaged from an abandoned carpenter's shop. The school overflowed with pupils from its opening, and soon it was necessary to move into larger quarters.
The Baptist Academy was about to be sold under mortgage default. This building had been built in 1852-53 with the help of slaves including Savery and Tarrant. A speedy plea for its purchase was sent to General Swayne. General Swayne then persuaded the American Missionary Association to buy the building and 20 acres of land for $23,000.
The grateful parents renamed the building Swayne School, and it opened in November of 1867 with about 140 pupils. A building constructed with **** labor for white students became the home of the state's first private, liberal arts college dedicated to servicing the educational needs of African Americans.
In 1869, Swayne School was issued a charter as Talladega College by the Judge of Probate of Talladega County. In 1889, the Alabama State Legislature exempted properties of the college from taxation.
Swayne Hall has remained in service as the symbol and spirit of the beginning of the college. Foster Hall, erected for girls and teachers in 1869, was the first building added after the college was chartered. Stone Hall, for boys and teachers, was built the next year.
The training of education leaders was the first and has been a continuing interest of the institution. The first courses offered above elementary grades were normal courses for teachers. An outline for collegiate-level coursework first appeared in the catalog for the year 1890. In 1895 the first class graduated with a bachelor's degree.
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