Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Texas

On June 19, 1865 federal troops landed in Galveston, Texas and formally proclaimed the end to the institution of slavery in the United Stated of America. Once slavery ended, the freedmen and women were able to seek out formal educations that were prohibited under the laws of slavery but due to the heightened segregation that came with emancipations, these freed slaves were not able to be educated in the same institutions as whites. Throughout the period of Reconstruction following the Civil War, there were virtually no established higher education institutions for blacks Texans, and most of the advancements made after 1870 were backed by white religious denominational groups seeking to establish a network of higher education institutions for the freedmen. Black religious denominations also actively sought out to establish schools and colleges for freedmen, these church group were committed to the Christianization and education of the race. The ultimate goal of the black religious groups was for the race to overcome the illiteracy, poverty, and degradation imposed upon them by two hundred years of slavery through education.

From 1872 to 1900, nine colleges were founded to educate the newly freed blacks Texans, with most of the schools located in east Texas where a large number of freedmen communities were located. During the 1880s the most popular curriculum for black higher education was vocationalism, a concept popularized by Booker T. Washington at his Tuskegee Institute, which would teach students specialized job skills. In Texas, most of the colleges established were private colleges and focused on more classical and liberal arts curriculums, and the only college that offered a vocational model that lasted through the mid- 1950s was Prairie View although it also offered degrees in education, business, and the sciences. The private colleges taught anywhere from elementary to college level classes up until the 1920s when most schools began teaching only college level curriculums.

The black colleges in Texas were situated mainly throughout east and central Texas, leaving students from the northern part of the state to travel long distances to obtain their degrees. While it is believed that blacks from Pilot Point, and the nearby towns of Denton and Gainesville, Texas, attended all of the black colleges in the state, research shows that Prairie View, Tillotson, Samuel Huston, Wiley, Texas, Bishop, and Paul Quinn colleges all had definite links to the North Texas communities. Although each schools profile has students linked to it, those students are not believed to be the only attendees from Pilot Point, Denton, and Gainesville.

Handbook of Texas Online, Michael R. Heintze, "Black Colleges,";Heintze, Michael R. Private Black Colleges in Texas, 1865-1954. College Station: Texas A & M University Press, 1985.