Mary Holmes College founded

Mon, 1892-12-26

On this date's Registry, we celebrate the founding of Mary Holmes College in 1892. It is one of over 100 Historical Black Colleges and University in America.

Originally named the Mary Holmes Seminary, it was the creation of the Board of Missions for Freedmen of the Presbyterian Church (USA). Located in Jackson, Mississippi, the school was dedicated to the Christian education of "Colored" girls, largely in the domestic arts. When fire destroyed the original school, it was rebuilt in West Point, Mississippi, where it is still located and where, in spite of two more destructive fires, it continues to seek to educate youth for worthy, purposeful lives.

Conceived and initiated through the efforts of the Reverend Mead Holmes and his daughter, Miss Mary Holmes, the school was named for Mrs. Mary Holmes, wife and mother, who had long been a tireless and devoted missionary for the Freedmen’s Mission. In 1932, the school became coeducational and also added the college department, with the primary purpose of training elementary teachers. At this time, private schools like Mary Holmes were the main sources for Black teachers in the south, and the preparation of Mary Holmes graduates had them in great demand.

By 1959, the State of Mississippi was assuming a greater responsibility for elementary and secondary education so the high school department of Mary Holmes was dropped, leaving it free to concentrate on being a Junior College. The Board of Missions of the United Presbyterian Church, USA still operates the school but its stance has always been non-sectarian.

In June 1969, the State of Mississippi granted a charter, making the institution a legal entity under the name of Mary Holmes College, Inc. Since that date it has operated under its own Board of Trustees.

Black American Colleges and Universities:
Profiles of Two-Year, Four-Year, & Professional Schools
by Levirn Hill, Pub., Gale Group, 1994
ISBN: 0-02-864984-2