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Students enroll in first Texas college for blacks

March
11
1878

On this day in 1878, eight young men enrolled in the short-lived Alta Vista Agricultural College, the first public black college in Texas. In 1876 the Fifteenth Texas Legislature had authorized an "Agricultural and Mechanical College for the Benefit of Colored Youth" as part of the Agricultural and Mechanical College of Texas (now Texas A&M University). A three-man commission bought Alta Vista Plantation, near Hempstead in Waller County, from Helen Marr Kirby for some $15,000. Texas A&M president Thomas S. Gathright hired Mississippian L. W. Minor as the first principal, and in March 1878 the first students enrolled at a tuition of $130 for nine months of instruction, board, and one uniform. The school was rechartered as Prairie View Normal Institute the following year, and continues today as Prairie View A&M University.

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