Samuel Huston College

Revised by: Brett J. Derbes

Type: General Entry

Published: 1952

Updated: November 1, 2017

Samuel Huston College, a coeducational school for African Americans in Austin, Texas, developed from a plan projected in 1876 by the Methodist Episcopal conference. Reverend George Warren Richardson, a Methodist minister from Minnesota, leased St. Paul Methodist Episcopal Church in Dallas where he operated a school for African American youth. In 1878 the school relocated to Austin, where the West Texas Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church adopted the school and renamed it Andrews Normal College. In 1887 Samuel Huston, a wealthy farmer from Honey Creek, Iowa, donated a maturing note, farm, and 460 acres of land worth $10,000 to the Freedman’s Aid Society. His donation facilitated the purchase of a six-acre plot in East Austin named Samuel Huston College after its benefactor. In 1898 a contract was let for a one-story building; the first president of the college, Dr. Reuben Shannon Lovinggood, arrived in Austin in the fall of 1900, and the first term opened with an enrollment of eighty. H. S. White of Romeo, Michigan, gave a library of five hundred volumes. By 1905 the enrollment was 419; in 1906 it reached 517. Courses ranged from elementary grades through college, including instruction in blacksmithing, bookkeeping, teaching, and preaching. In 1910 Samuel Huston College was chartered as a private educational corporation under the laws of Texas. In 1916 the school plant was enlarged to fifteen acres, and substantial buildings, including a laboratory, a laundry, and an industrial building were added. In 1926 Samuel Huston College was recognized by the State of Texas Department of Education as a class A senior college, and in 1934 the school was accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools. The teacher placement bureau was an added department; the premedical course was accepted by the American Medical Association as meeting its requirements. On December 14, 1951, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools approved Samuel Huston College as a four-year senior college. On October 24, 1952, Samuel Huston College officially merged with Tillotson College to form Huston-Tillotson College, which became the sole provider of higher education for African Americans in Central Texas until the Brown v. Board of Education decision in 1954. By 1966 the twenty-three acre campus included an administration building, science building, two residence halls, student union and dining hall, gymnasium, auditorium, music hall, lounge, and two other halls. The campus expanded in the 1970s with a classroom administration building, chapel, three wings to the women’s dormitory, and two wings to the men’s dormitory. Historic preservation of the original administration building completed in 2004, and the school was renamed Huston-Tillotson University on February 28, 2005.

Austin Weekly Statesman, January 9, 1890. F. Erik Brooks and Glenn L. Starks, Historically Black Colleges and Universities: An Encyclopedia (Santa Barbara: ABC-CLIO, 2011). Corpus Christie Caller-Times, December 16, 1951, April 17, 1952. James C. Dinwiddie, History of Iowa County, Iowa, and Its People, Volume 1 (Chicago: S. J. Clarke Publishing Company, 1915). Dan K. Utley and Cynthia J. Beeman, History Along the Way: Stories Beyond the Texas Roadside Markers (College Station: Texas A&M University Press, 2013). 


  • Education
  • Defunct Colleges and Universities
  • Peoples
  • African Americans
  • Religion
  • Methodist


  • Central Texas
  • Austin

The following, adapted from the Chicago Manual of Style, 15th edition, is the preferred citation for this entry.

Revised by Brett J. Derbes, “Samuel Huston College,” Handbook of Texas Online, accessed November 26, 2021,

Published by the Texas State Historical Association.

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November 1, 2017

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