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“V” is for Voorhees College

South Carolina from A to Z logo

  “V” is for Voorhees College. Located in Denmark, Voorhees College is a four-year liberal arts undergraduate institution. Founded in 1897, the school was first known as the Denmark Industrial School and was based on Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute. The school's founder Elizabeth Evelyn Wright was Washington's protégé and was determined to “be the same type of woman as Mr. Washington was a man.” By 1902 Wright had persuaded Ralph Voorhees, a New Jersey industrialist, to donate money for land and buildings. Renamed for its benefactor, the school was re-chartered by the General Assembly in 1904 as the Voorhees Industrial School for Colored Youths. After Wright's death, the school had difficulties and in 1924 was taken over by the Episcopal Church's American Institute for Negroes. In 1947 the school became a junior college and in 1962 became Voorhees College.

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.