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Celebrating HBCU Founder’s Day: Spelman College

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When it comes to HBCUs geared towards women, Spelman should be the first to come to mind.

The liberal arts college located in Atlanta, Georgia, founded in the 1880s, is known oldest private, historically black liberal arts college for women, so we tapped alumni and longtime media personality Tai Beachamp to talk about the institution that she holds close to her heart.

The BROWN Girl Jane founder dives into the school, starting with two influential women behind it in Sophia B. Packard & Harriet E. Giles. They were not only longtime friends but also abolitionists and advocates for the education of Black women in the south.

“John D Rockefeller was the first investor in Spelman College. Sophia and Harriet founded another school previously, and because of the work that they’d done there, Rockefeller invested in Spelman College. It was originally founded as the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary but later named after Rockefeller’s inlaws as his wife’s name was Laura Spelman,” Beachamp explains before hopping into a little-known fact. “Spelman didn’t actually start as a college. The actual first graduates of Spelman were high school students, and they graduated in 1887. Then ten years later, the college department opened, and then in 1924, it officially became Spelman College.”

Learn more about Spelman college and its longtime connection to Atlanta University and Morehouse in the video above.