Philander Smith College

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Philander Smith College
U.M. Rose School.JPG
Type Private, HBCU
Established1877: Walden Seminary
1882: Philander Smith College
Endowment $3 million
President Roderick L. Smothers, Ph.D.
Location, ,
United States
Colors Green and Gold
Affiliations United Methodist Church

Philander Smith College is a private historically black college, in Little Rock, Arkansas. Philander Smith College is affiliated with the United Methodist Church and is a founding member of the United Negro College Fund (UNCF). Philander Smith College is accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Private universities are typically not operated by governments, although many receive tax breaks, public student loans, and grants. Depending on their location, private universities may be subject to government regulation. This is in contrast to public universities and national universities. Many private universities are non-profit organizations.

Historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) are institutions of higher education in the United States that were established before the Civil Rights Act of 1964 with the intention of primarily serving the African-American community. This was because the overwhelming majority of predominantly white institutions of higher-learning disqualified African Americans from enrollment during segregation. From the time of slavery in the 19th century through to the second half of the 20th century, majority schools in the Southern United States prohibited all African Americans from attending, while historic schools in other parts of the country regularly employed quotas to limit admissions of blacks.

Little Rock, Arkansas Capital of Arkansas

Little Rock is the capital and most populous city of the U.S. state of Arkansas. As the county seat of Pulaski County, the city was incorporated on November 7, 1831, on the south bank of the Arkansas River close to the state's geographic center. The city derives its name from a rock formation along the river, named the "Little Rock" by the French explorer Jean-Baptiste Bénard de la Harpe in the 1720s. The capital of the Arkansas Territory was moved to Little Rock from Arkansas Post in 1821. The city's population was 198,541 in 2016 according to the United States Census Bureau. The six-county Little Rock-North Little Rock-Conway, AR Metropolitan Statistical Area (MSA) is ranked 78th in terms of population in the United States with 738,344 residents according to the 2017 estimate by the United States Census Bureau.



Philander Smith College was officially founded in 1877 under the name of Walden Seminary to provide educational opportunities for freed slaves west of the Mississippi River. In 1882 the school was renamed Philander Smith College in honor of the financial contributions of Adeline Smith, widow of Philander Smith. It was chartered as a four-year college in 1883 and conferred its first bachelor's degree in 1888. In 1933, it merged the assets of the George R. Smith College in Sedalia, Missouri, which burned down in 1925. [1] In 1943, Philander Smith was accredited by the North Central Association of Colleges and Schools.

Mississippi River largest river system in North America

The Mississippi River is the second-longest river and chief river of the second-largest drainage system on the North American continent, second only to the Hudson Bay drainage system. Its source is Lake Itasca in northern Minnesota and it flows generally south for 2,320 miles (3,730 km) to the Mississippi River Delta in the Gulf of Mexico. With its many tributaries, the Mississippi's watershed drains all or parts of 32 U.S. states and two Canadian provinces between the Rocky and Appalachian mountains. The main stem is entirely within the United States; the total drainage basin is 1,151,000 sq mi (2,980,000 km2), of which only about one percent is in Canada. The Mississippi ranks as the fourth-longest and fifteenth-largest river by discharge in the world. The river either borders or passes through the states of Minnesota, Wisconsin, Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, Kentucky, Tennessee, Arkansas, Mississippi, and Louisiana.

Philander Smith was an American real estate agent and philanthropist. Philander Smith College is his namesake.

George R. Smith College

George R. Smith College was a Historically Black College located in Sedalia, Missouri, it was attended by the famed and prolific American ragtime-music piano composer Scott Joplin famous for the piano music piece "Maple Leaf Rag." The institution was associated with the Freedmen's Aid and Southern Education Society of the Methodist Church and played an important role in the lives of young people for several decades.

During the Civil Rights Movement, Philander Smith College was a pioneer in activism: many of its students engaged in nonviolent resistance against segregation laws or customs (such as sitting in at "whites-only" lunch counters).

Nonviolent resistance practice of achieving goals through nonviolent methods

Nonviolent resistance is the practice of achieving goals such as social change through symbolic protests, civil disobedience, economic or political noncooperation, satyagraha, or other methods, while being nonviolent. This type of action highlights the desires of an individual or group that feels that something needs to change to improve the current condition of the resisting person or group.

Racial segregation separation of humans

Racial segregation is the systemic separation of people into racial or other ethnic groups in daily life. It may apply to activities such as eating in a restaurant, drinking from a water fountain, using a public toilet, attending school, going to the movies, riding on a bus, or in the rental or purchase of a home or of hotel rooms. Segregation is defined by the European Commission against Racism and Intolerance as "the act by which a person separates other persons on the basis of one of the enumerated grounds without an objective and reasonable justification, in conformity with the proposed definition of discrimination. As a result, the voluntary act of separating oneself from other people on the basis of one of the enumerated grounds does not constitute segregation". According to the UN Forum on Minority Issues, "The creation and development of classes and schools providing education in minority languages should not be considered impermissible segregation, if the assignment to such classes and schools is of a voluntary nature".


A sit-in or sit-down is a form of direct action that involves one or more people occupying an area for a protest, often to promote political, social, or economic change.

Rankings and Education Conservancy

Dr. Walter Kimbrough, former president of Philander Smith College, joined the Education Conservancy in criticizing the annual U.S. News and World Report college rankings; he signed a letter circulating among college presidents that asks them to refrain from participating in the peer assessment portion of the survey. [2] [3]

Walter Kimbrough is an American academic administrator. He is the President of Dillard University in New Orleans, Louisiana, serving since 2012. Before that, he was President of Philander Smith College from 2004 through 2012.

The Education Conservancy is an American educational non-profit organization headed by director Lloyd Thacker. It describes its goal as being "committed to improving college admission processes for students, colleges and high schools."


Philander Smith College Historic District
LocationRoughly bounded by 13th, 11th, Izard, and State Sts., Little Rock, Arkansas
Arealess than one acre
Architect Almand, John Parks
Architectural style Colonial Revival, Bungalow/Craftsman, et al
NRHP reference # 99000229 [4]
Added to NRHPSeptember 13, 1999

The school campus is located in central Little Rock. Interstate 630 (the Mills Freeway) was constructed just north of the campus, which is bounded by 10th and 14th streets to the north and south, and Gaines and Chester streets to the east and west. The core of the campus was originally built for Little Rock Junior College (now the University of Arkansas at Little Rock), and a two-block section of it is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. One of its centerpieces is the former U.M. Rose School building, now the Cox Administration Building, designed by the noted Arkansas architect John Parks Almand in 1915, when he was working for Charles L. Thompson. The campus also includes the "Old Gym", a gymnasium built by the WPA during the Great Depression; and a former barracks building of the Camp Robinson Air Force Base, which was moved here in 1948. [5]

Interstate 630 (I-630) in Arkansas is an east–west connector within Little Rock. It is also known as the Wilbur D. Mills Freeway and starts at Interstate 30/US Route 65/US Route 67/US Route 167 (I-430/US 65/US 67/US 167) traveling west through downtown Little Rock to Interstate 430 and an at-grade intersection with Shackleford Road and Financial Centre Parkway.

National Register of Historic Places federal list of historic sites in the United States

The National Register of Historic Places (NRHP) is the United States federal government's official list of districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects deemed worthy of preservation for their historical significance. A property listed in the National Register, or located within a National Register Historic District, may qualify for tax incentives derived from the total value of expenses incurred preserving the property.

U.M. Rose School

The U.M. Rose School is a historic school building at the corner of Izard and West 13th Streets, on the campus of Philander Smith College in Little Rock, Arkansas. A two-story U-shaped Colonial Revival brick building, it was built in 1915 to a design by Arkansas architect Charles L. Thompson, and was called "by far the best constructed" of any building in Little Rock.


Philander Smith teams, nicknamed the Panthers, are part of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC). Men's sports include basketball and track & field; while women's sports include basketball, cheerleading, track & field and volleyball.

National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics

The National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA) is a college athletics association for small colleges and universities in North America. For the 2018–2019 season, it has 251 member institutions, of which two are in British Columbia, one in the U.S. Virgin Islands, and the rest in the conterminous United States. The NAIA, whose headquarters is in Kansas City, Missouri, sponsors 26 national championships. The CBS Sports Network, formerly called CSTV, serves as the national media outlet for the NAIA. In 2014, ESPNU began carrying the NAIA Football National Championship.

Gulf Coast Athletic Conference

The Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) is a college athletic conference made up entirely of historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and affiliated with the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics's (NAIA) Division I. Member institutions are located in Alabama, Arkansas, Florida, Louisiana, Mississippi, South Carolina and Tennessee, USA.

Philander Smith's 2012-2013 men's basketball team made history by bringing home their 1st Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) tournament title. [6]

On Feb. 21, 1989, Philander Smith gained a 92-89 victory over Rust College of Holly Springs, Mississippi, on their court, ending the longest home-court winning streak in NCAA Division III women's basketball history.

Notable alumni

NameClass yearNotabilityReference(s)
"Geese" Ausbie former Harlem Globetrotters player and coach
Al Bell founder of Stax Records and former president of Motown Records
Isaac M. Burgan President of Paul Quinn College from 1883-1891, 1911-1914
James Hal Cone 1958major figure in systematic theology and liberation theology
L. Clifford Davis 1945civil rights, attorney, judge [7]
Joycelyn Elders 1952former Surgeon General of the United States
Stephanie Flowers Arkansas State Senator since 2011 and former member of the Arkansas House of Representatives from Pine Bluff [8]
Scipio Africanus Jones coursework before transfer to Shorter College lawyer and businessman
Calvin King 1975farm developmer, and the President of the Arkansas Land and Farm Development Corp
Amina Claudine Myers musician [9]
Elijah Pitts 1961former Green Bay Packers player
Lottie Shackelford former mayor of Little Rock, Arkansas
Robert L. Williams 1953prominent figure in the history of African-American psychology

Notable faculty

Lee Lorch mathematician and civil rights activist

See also


  1. Kamara, Margaret (28 June 2007). "Are U.S. News Rankings Inherently Biased Against Black Colleges?". Diverse Issues in Higher Education. Archived from the original on 27 September 2007.
  2. "Growing Challenge to 'U.S. News'". Inside Higher Ed. 18 May 2007.
  3. National Park Service (2010-07-09). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places . National Park Service.
  4. "NRHP nomination for Philander Smith College Historic District" (PDF). Arkansas Preservation. Retrieved 2015-12-09.
  5. "Panthers Bring the GCAC Championship Home" . Retrieved 12 June 2013.
  6. Kilpatrick, Judith. "Desegregating the University of Arkansas School of Law: L. Clifford Davis and the Six Pioneers" (PDF). Arkansas Black Lawyers. Retrieved 17 December 2018.
  7. "Stephanie Anne Flowers". Retrieved April 17, 2015.
  8. Lewis, George E. (2008). A Power Stronger Than Itself: The AACM and American Experimental Music. University of Chicago Press. pp. 127–128.

Coordinates: 34°44′13″N92°16′57″W / 34.73686°N 92.28249°W / 34.73686; -92.28249

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