Monday, June 19, 2017

Arkansas's Southland College Featured: First Higher Education Institution for Blacks west of Mississippi River

The Northwest Arkansas Democrat Gazette published an interesting article on Southland College, "Little left of school in Delta," with reporting by Bill Bowdin.  Southland was supported by Quakers and opened in 1925 as Helena Orphan Asylum.  Initially schooling was provided for the children and a normal program was added to prepare teachers after 1869.  The Southland College name was adopted after 1873 and the institution was the first higher education for blacks west of the Mississippi River.  Southland College ultimately closed in 1925.
Bowdin notes that the University of Arkansas archives offer an extensive digital exhibit, "Lives Transformed: the People of Southland College," featuring photographs and first-person accounts documenting the impact of the institution.
A History of Southland College published in 1906 by the Indiana Yearly Meeting of the Religious Society of Friends is available at the Internet Archive.  The booklet includes a number of historic images of buildings and people associated with the institution.