This Day in Black History: April 19, 1837

Cheyney State College, one of the oldest historically Black colleges in the country, was founded.

Posted: 04/19/2012 10:15 AM EDT

It was originally founded as the African Institute in 1837, an era when few, if any, African-American young people went to college. Indeed, Cheyney University bills itself as the oldest African-American institution of higher learning in the country. The school’s founding was made possible by Richard Humphreys, a Quaker philanthropist who donated $10,000 — a tenth of his estate — for the establishment of the school for people of African descent.

Now known as Cheyney University, the school has one of the most highly respected men’s and women’s basketball programs in NCAA Division II history. The school boasts an impressive list of alumni, including Ed Bradley, the late 60 Minutes television journalist; Bayard Rustin, the renowned civil rights leader; and Robert Bogle, the president and chief executive of the Philadelphia Tribune. The university offers baccalaureate degrees in more than 30 disciplines and a master’s degree in education.

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