Morristown College

At the summit of the hill, about 100 yards beyond the canopy of trees, a narrow rocky trail led up to the beautiful, stately, institution of Morristown College. It was one of the first institutions of higher learning dedicated to the education of Black men and women in the entire State of Tennessee. It was a remarkable majestic sight. The shadow of the college cast an academic spell on my cousins and me. It made us educational sponges. We all excelled in our educational pursuits. Some were honor students in high school and college. In several cases, we completed advance Master and Doctorate degrees.

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The rich legacy of Morristown College[1] established by Dr. Judson Hill and those that followed him defined the school as a significant place in our family. My grandmother was extremely proud of the fact that we lived nearby of such a substantial college for our family. However, due to racism, changing times and fate the school is now leveled. This was a landmark in my life. What happens when markers move?

 

[1]“City takes next step toward Heritage Park at college site.” Citizen Tribune. Retrieved 2017-01-20 Morristown College was an African-American higher education institution located in Morristown, the seat of Hamblen County, Tennessee. It was founded in 1881 by the national Freedman’s Aid Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church. The school was renamed Knoxville College-Morristown Campus in 1989 and closed in 1994. Before the civil rights movement, the college held the distinction of being one of only two institutions in East Tennessee for African-Americans, the other being Knoxville College, founded in 1875. The 52-acre (210,000 m2) campus was perched on a hill in the middle of Morristown and surrounded by five distinct neighborhoods. Seven of the college’s nine buildings were on the National Register of Historic Places. After operations ceased, most of the college buildings fell into disrepair, succumbing to vandalism and neglect. Minus a few structures, the campus was demolished to make way for a city park.

 

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Author: Henri Whitfield

Dr. A. Henri Whitfield is a free lance writer of non-fiction inspirational stories. He is trained and experienced in family ministry, church administration, and non-profit management. Dr. Whitfield has a Master of Theology in Pastoral Ministry and a Doctor of Ministry Degree from Dallas Theological Seminary in Marriage and Family Ministry.

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