The Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University entered the twenty-first Century as the nation's largest historically black college or university and, in doing so, it continued to fulfill its principal historical mission by producing more minority educators-to-be than any other institution in the United States. These face may catch many Floridians unaware; yet the context within which FAMU managed to accomplish its teacher education mission, having virtually disappeared from our collective consciousness, may offer even greater surprises. The tale involves threads of history drawn from abolitionist professors at Oberlin College; military schools at Hampton, Virginia: the farsighted vision of Florida's only Reconstructionera cabinet officer and the first African American elected to the United States Congress; tense rivalries between competing communities; bitter clashes regarding opposing educational philosophies; Redemptionist accommodation; and a bountiful supply of individuals of remarkable talent and education, who yearned to keep alive the phenomenal educational triumph that Reconstruction had worked upon the state of Florida. Previously untold in detail, the story provides the foundation for an understanding of FAMU's unique institutional character and of its distinctive liberal arts approach to teacher education.1
Rivers, Larry Eugene
"A Monument to the Progress of the Race: The Intellectual and Political Origins of the Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University, 1865-1887,"
Florida Historical Quarterly: Vol. 85:
1, Article 3.
Available at: https://stars.library.ucf.edu/fhq/vol85/iss1/3