Methodist Episcopal Church founds University – August 30, 1856
This week marks the anniversary of when the Methodist Episcopal Church founded Wilberforce University, in Ohio, which in the modern day is a historically black university.
During the American Civil War, Wilberforce experienced severe decline and was closed in 1862. However, the property was purchased by the African Methodist Episcopal Church and on July 10, 1863 was newly incorporated.
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“In the decade of the 1870s, the University was able to survive because of substantial donations received from individuals, philanthropic organizations and other similar sources,” wrote historian Gabriel Adebayo Omolewu.
“The Congress of [the] United States made an appropriation of $28,000. Avery Estate contributed $10,000. The Chief Justice of the United States, Salmon P. Chase, who was a member of the Board of Trustees at that time, made a personal donations of $10,000.”
Wilberforce also gave birth to two other schools. One of its departments became Central State University while its theology department later became Payne Theological Seminary.