Founded in 1856 in Xenia, Ohio, Wilberforce University is the nation’s oldest private, historically black university. The institution was named to honor the great 18th century abolitionist, William Wilberforce (1759 – 1833), an English politician, philanthropist, and a leader of the movement to abolish the slave trade. As a member of the British Parliament, He lead the political campaign against the British slave trade for twenty-six years until the passage of the Slave Trade Act of 1807.
The founding of the college was a unique collaboration between the Cincinnati, Ohio Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church and the African Methodist Episcopal Church (AME). They planned a college to provide classical education and teacher training for black youth. In the 19th century, it enlarged its mission to include students from South Africa.
The college attracted the top professors of the day, including W.E.B. Du Bois, the philologist William S. Scarborough, Edward Clarke, and John G. Mitchell, dean of the seminary. In 1894 Lieutenant Charles Young, the third black graduate of West Point and then the only African-American commissioned officer in the US Army, led the newly established military science department.
1055 N. Bickett Road
Wilberforce, OH 45384
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