In celebration of Black History Month we wanted to share with you some of Bennett College’s rich history. We’re calling it Bennett’s “Herstory.” Be sure to share this page with your family, friends and loved ones.
Bennett College was founded in 1873 as a coeducational institution through the inspiration of newly emancipated slaves. Its first sessions were held in the basement of St. Matthews Methodist Episcopal Church in Greensboro. NC.
The Freedman’s Aid and Southern Education Society of the Methodist Episcopal Church assumed responsibility for the support of the school. Lyman Bennett gave the first ten thousand dollars for the purchase of land and the erection of a building large enough to house the classrooms and also serve as a dormitory. Shortly, thereafter, Bennett died of pneumonia while seeking funds for the
purchase of the school bell. The institution was named Bennett Seminary in memory of Bennett, and the first building was named Bennett Hall.
Achieving college status in 1889 as a coeducational institution, Bennett graduated men and women who assumed positions of leadership in all walks of life. Two of the first Black bishops in the Methodist Episcopal Church were graduates of the school. Early in the twentieth century, the Women’s Home Missionary Society decided to build a college for the education of Black women. The Board of Education of the Methodist Church offered the Bennett College site for the project. The college was to be operated jointly by the Missionary Society and the Board of Education.
The reorganization of Bennett College was finalized in 1926, when it became a senior college for women. The physical plant consisted of nine buildings, occupying thirty-eight acres. There were 151 high school students and 10 college students. The college grew steadily and by 1980 had a student population of 138 young women.
Take a journey through some of Bennett’s “Herstory” with some historic photos. Click on an image to enlarge and learn more about it. You can then scroll through the gallery.