History of Early HBCU Southland College Preserved in New Digital Archive at University of Arkansas

Two Boys Walking from Pumphrey Hall, Lives Transformed: the People of Southland College (Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries)

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The University of Arkansas has debuted a new online archive of materials relating to Southland College in Phillips County, Arkansas. The school, established in 1864, was the first institution of higher learning for African Americans in the United States founded west of the Mississippi River.

Students Willie Bell Hendon and Catherine Penney (Special Collections, University of Arkansas Libraries)

Original funding for the school was provided by Quakers from Indiana. Funding and labor for the first buildings of the college were provided by veterans of the 56th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment.

After a decade, the school’s enrollment reached 200. Southland College closed in 1925 due to financial difficulties. Hundreds of alumni graduated with teaching degrees from the college.

The new online exhibit includes photographs and scanned images of letters, forms, newspaper articles, course catalogs, a commencement program and a diploma. The online archive entitled, “Lives Transformed: the People of Southland College,” may be accessed here.

Source: University of Arkansas’ New Historical Digital Archive Tells the Story of an Early HBCU : The Journal of Blacks in Higher Education

Faces of Hope: Patrick Oliver Teaches Kids to Be Successful Readers and Writers

Patrick Oliver traces his success back to this scene: As a little boy in his home in the projects of Little Rock, he shared the morning newspapers with his parents and his grandfather. Each person grabbed a section of the newspaper and passed the other sections around. He and his grandfather, who lived nearby, shared the sports pages.

Years later when he worked himself up from a low level job to one as a material analyst and senior contract administrator in the defense industry, he remembered those scenes at home. His reading and writing skills allowed him to easily understand systems and write proposals that suggested more efficient ways of operating, thus gaining him attention, respect and promotions from upper management. Oliver never forgot the connection between the rituals at his house and his success at work.

“The success of me being a success in corporate America is because of my reading,” he said. “Our house was full of newspapers and magazines,” he said.

Now a literary consultant, program manager and radio host in Little Rock, he devotes most of his life to developing programs that introduce black youth to literature and the importance of reading and writing well. In 1993, he founded “Say It Loud! Readers and Writers,” the nonprofit that provides opportunities for youth ages 10 – 18 to participate in literary arts activities and events designed to enhance their appreciation for literature as a tool for empowerment. Today, in addition to programs in Little Rock, he has partnerships with programs in Chicago, Los Angeles, Philadelphia, and Washington, D.C.

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President and First Lady Appearing At Commencements Of Several HBCUs

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The president, first lady and members of the administration will be making a commencement tour of HBCUs, making addresses and appearances at eleven institutions:

This month, President Obama, the First Lady, and officials from throughout the Administration will deliver commencement addresses to Historically Black Colleges and Universities across the nation.  This weekend Mrs. Obama will send off the graduates of University of Arkansas – Pine Bluff Saturday, May 8th and President Obama will greet the graduates of Hampton University Sunday, May 9th.  In total, eleven HBCUs will receive commencement addresses from Obama Administration officials this year.

Other officials participating in graduation ceremonies include Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense (Morehouse College), Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education (Xavier University), Administrator Charles Bolden, NASA (Huston-Tillotson University), Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President (Morgan State University), Melody Barnes, Director, White House Domestic Policy Council (Virginia Union University), and Ambassador Susan Rice, United Nations (Spelman College).  In addition, John Wilson, Executive Director of the White House Initiative on Historically Black Colleges and Universities, is scheduled to speak to Wilberforce University, Wiley College, and Harris-Stowe State University.

During a recent White House ceremony honoring HBCUs, President Obama spoke of the importance of these institutions to the well-being of not just the African American community, but to the entire nation.

President Obama said, “[W]e’re not only doing this because these schools are a gateway to a better future for African Americans; we’re doing it because their success is vital to a better future for all Americans.”

Below is the complete schedule of administration appearances

Obama Administration HBCU Commencement Schedule*

Saturday, May 1st

· John Wilson, Executive Director, White House Initiative on HBCUs – Wilberforce University

Saturday, May 8th

· First Lady Michelle Obama – University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff

· Secretary Arne Duncan, Department of Education – Xavier University

· NASA Administrator Charles Bolden – Huston-Tillotson University

· White House Domestic Policy Director Melody Barnes – Virginia Union University

· John Wilson, Executive Director, White House Initiative on HBCUs – Wiley College

May 9th

· President Barack Obama – Hampton University

May 11th

· John Wilson, Executive Director, White House Initiative on HBCUs – Harris-Stowe State University

May 15th

· Valerie Jarrett, Senior Advisor to the President – Morgan State University

May 16th

· Secretary Robert Gates, Department of Defense – Morehouse College

· Ambassador Susan Rice, United Nations – Spelman College

article via www.theroot.com