January 1, 1878
The historically black college Selma University welcomed its first students in the St. Phillips Street Baptist Church with an enrollment of four. The school was founded to educate black pastors and newly freed slaves. The institution was originally called the Alabama Baptist Normal and Theological School, and its name and location changed several times over the years. Within 20 years, the college had nearly 400 students. Its scope grew over time to include liberal arts and other programs, and there were challenges, including financial, during the 20th century. Today, with six satellite campuses, its primary focus is on training persons for the Christian ministry and it is, according to the Alabama Missionary Baptist State Convention, the “pride of Alabama Baptists.” Among its graduates are David and Theodore Jenison, each of whom has served as president of the National Baptist Convention, USA Inc.
Read more at Encyclopedia of Alabama.
For more on Alabama’s Bicentennial, visit Alabama 200.