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“C” is for Claflin University

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  “C” is for Claflin University. Responding to the urgent need to educate former slaves, northern Methodists established Claflin University in Orangeburg in 1869. The Claflin family of Massachusetts provided financial support to start the institution. They purchased the former site of the Orangeburg Female Institute. They then merged Baker Bible Institute in Charleston and the Camden Normal Training School and renamed these institutions Claflin University. The university opened its doors in October 1869, without regard to race, color, creed, religion, or complexion. In December 1869, the school received a charter from the General Assembly and became the first historically black college or university in the state. It awarded its first bachelor’s degrees in 1882. During the 1890s the General Assembly provided funds to Claflin University so it could offer agricultural and industrial courses as well as liberal arts degrees.

Dr. Walter Edgar has two programs on South Carolina Public Radio: Walter Edgar's Journal, and South Carolina from A to Z. Dr. Edgar receivedhisA.B.degreefromDavidson College in 1965 and his Ph.D. from the University of South Carolina in 1969. After two years in the army (including a tour of duty in Vietnam), he returned to USC as a post-doctoral fellow of the National Archives, assigned to the Papers of Henry Laurens.