Concept

Florida Memorial University

Résumé
Florida Memorial University is a private historically black university in Miami Gardens, Florida. It is a member of the United Negro College Fund and historically related to Baptists although it claims a focus on broader Christianity. One of the oldest academic centers in Florida, the university was founded in 1879 as the Florida Baptist Institute in Live Oak, Florida. Soon after, the American Baptist Home Mission Society gave the school its full support, and the first regular school year began in 1880. The Reverend J. L. A. Fish (1828–1890) was its first president. Despite a promising start, racial tensions soon cast a shadow over the institute. In April 1892, after unknown persons fired shots into one of the school's buildings, then-President Rev. Matthew Gilbert and other staff members fled Live Oak for Jacksonville, where they founded the Florida Baptist Academy in the basement of Bethel Baptist Church. They began holding classes in May 1892, with Sarah Ann Blocker as the main instructor. The school in Live Oak, however, continued to operate even after this splintering. Nathan W. Collier, President of Florida Baptist Institute, and Sarah Ann Blocker, of Florida Baptist Academy, combined the two institutions to found Florida Normal and Technical Institute in 1896. Collier was president of the college from 1896 to 1941, and Blocker Dean of Women and vice-president from 1896 to 1944. Brothers James Weldon Johnson and J. Rosamond Johnson (faculty member), wrote the words and music in 1900 to "Lift Ev'ry Voice and Sing" (known as the "Negro National Anthem") in 1900. Florida Normal and Industrial Institute moved to St. Augustine in 1918 on a tract of land, the site of the "Old Hanson Plantation", operated with the forced labor of enslaved African Americans. In 1941, the Live Oak and St. Augustine institutions merged, changing their limited offerings from a junior college classification to a four-year liberal arts institution which graduated its first four-year class in 1945.
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