LEMOYNE-OWEN COLLEGE (1871- )
LeMoyne-Owen College is a four-year, historically black college
located at 807 Walker Avenue in Memphis. Conceived in 1870, when philanthropist
Francis Julius LeMoyne gave $20,000 to the American Missionary Association,
LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School opened during the fall of 1871 in
a new building at 284 Orleans Street. LeMoyne directed that the school,
which succeeded the AMA's Lincoln Chapel freedmen's school, would admit
"all pupils whose conduct is orderly and whose character is creditable."
A notable antislavery man, LeMoyne (1798-1879) traveled from his Washington,
Pennsylvania, home to visit He new school. He donated a Hutchress striking
clock worth $800 for the school's tower.
Early classes enrolled 185 students, including seventy-five persons in the Sabbath I School. J. H. Barnum, the first principal (l871-l873), reported nearly 300 students and three active departments: normal, commercial, and music. LeMoyne Normal produced many teachers and graduated 200 students by 1908.
The LeMoyne School moved to its present site in 1914. The school became a junior college in 1924 and a baccalaureate institution in 1934, when the name was changed to LeMoyne College. By this time, LeMoyne had strong debating and football teams that gained name recognition for the school. Hollis F. Price became the institution's first black president in 1943.
Owen Junior College (1954- 1968) merged with LeMoyne College in 1968. Owen was founded in late 1953 by the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention, Inc., and located near the corner of Vance and Orleans streets in the former St. Agnes Academy - Sienna College buildings. Some twenty-two students began their Christian education there on January 18, 1954. The junior college was named for the Reverend Samuel Augustus Owen, pastor of Metropolitan Baptist Church, LeMoyne College's next-door neighbor.
LeMoyne-Owen College continues to educate African Americans and other students for meaningful positions in the world community.
Perre M. Magness