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HBCU of the Month: Dillard University

Dillard University prepares students for world-class graduate schools and successful careers in medicine, science and research,  education, business and industry and the arts and entertainment. Dillard Students are being groomed for leadership roles and for giving back to their communities, their states, their nation and the world. Dillard University is a liberal arts college in New Orleans, Louisana. Founded in 1930 incorporating earlier institutions that went back to 1869, it is affiliated with the United Church of Christ ans the United Methodist Church.

 

The history of DillardUniversitydates back to 1869 and its founding predecessor institutions–Straight University (later to be renamed Straight College) and Union Normal School (which was to become New Orleans University).

 Local Black and White leaders felt there was a need for a larger, more notable African American institution of higher learning to emerge within New Orleansand the greater South. Due to economic hardships and rounds of negotiations between the two institutions, StraightCollegeand New OrleansUniversitychartered DillardUniversityon June 6, 1930. Named after James H. Dillard, the new university was created to “… offer a traditional liberal arts curriculum—rather than nonprofessional, vocational training” and emphasize a close engagement with the Black community through “various education extension programs, societies, and clubs.”

Despite the hope of this new charter, the building of Dillard Universitywas tempered by its context of Jim Crow America. Many local Whites took concern with the possibility of a Black president presiding over White faculty members. Similarly, the increased numbers of African American bus riders in the Gentilly area disturbed some White sensibilities. As an influential and diplomatic member of Dillard’s board of trustees, Edgar B. Stern suggested Will W. Alexander as a suitable compromise. Will W. Alexander, a white Southern preacher, was Dillard’s first acting president (1935–1936), whose experience as the director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation proved valuable. Dillard University opened its doors in the fall of 1935, and was able to attract a number of prominent scholars, such as Horace Mann Bond, psychology and education; Frederick Douglass Hall,  music; Lawrence D. Reddick, history; and St.Clair Drake, sociology and anthropology.

Dillard U

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This entry was posted on July 26, 2011 by in Community, Education, HBCU and tagged , , , .
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