Bishop College

Bishop College was an historically black college, founded in Marshall, Texas, United States, in 1881 by the Baptist Home Mission Society. It was intended to serve students in east Texas, where the majority of the black population lived at the time. In 1961 the administration moved the college into Dallas, Texas. Being based in a major city helped it attract more students. It operated until 1988, but a major financial scandal caused it to lose accreditation and funding.

Bishop College
Location, ,
32°40′41″N 96°45′19″W / 32.6781°N 96.7552°W / 32.6781; -96.7552Coordinates: 32°40′41″N 96°45′19″W / 32.6781°N 96.7552°W / 32.6781; -96.7552

In 2006 the president of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky reached out to Bishop College alumni, proposing to have them "adopt" his college as an alma mater. He offered scholarships to their descendants, with a chance to have their diploma read "Bishop College". This was part of an effort to increase minority enrollment at Georgetown.


1850 plot plan of Bishop College (Wyalucing)

The college was founded by the Baptist Home Mission Society in 1881 as the result of a movement to build a college for African-American Baptists. Nathan Bishop, who had been the superintendent of several major school systems in New England, started this effort. Baylor University President Rufus C. Burleson secured a pledge of $25,000 from Judge Bishop to start the college during a meeting of the National Baptist Education Society meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A committee of Baptist ministers from East Texas, where most African Americans then lived, selected a location in Marshall, on land belonging to the Holcomb Plantation, Wyalucing.[1]

For the college's first several decades, Bishop's faculty and administration were staffed largely by European Americans. The first African American appointed as president was Joseph J. Rhoads, who started in 1929 and served through the Great Depression and World War II.[2] During his presidency, Bishop phased out the high school preparatory programs associated with the college, which had operated to help students compensate for failures in public education. He emphasized the college's new two-year ministerial program.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the ministerial program was developed as the Lacy Kirk Williams Institute. It moved to Dallas when the college moved in 1961. The Lacy Kirk Williams Institute evolved into a week-long seminar which attracted well-known preachers including Jessie Jackson and Martin Luther King, Sr. in 1975. (source, Lloyd Thompson's dissertation for North Texas University, p 34-35)

In 1961, after receiving a grant from the Hoblitzelle Foundation, Bishop moved to a 360-acre (1.5 km2) campus in Dallas. It was able to attract more students there. In Dallas, enrollments increased, peaking at almost 2,000 students around 1970.[2]

The college closed in 1988 after a financial scandal led to the revocation of its accreditation, and its eligibility to receive funds from charities such as the United Negro College Fund. Purchased in 1990 by Comer S. Cottrell, the campus is now used by Paul Quinn College.[3]

In 2006, the president of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky proposed a plan to Bishop College alumni to make Georgetown their adopted alma mater. Georgetown offers scholarships to children or grandchildren of Bishop alumni or students nominated by Bishop alumni. Upon graduation, these students receive diplomas with the name and insignia of Bishop College. Georgetown president William H. Crouch Jr. hopes the program will help the college reach its goal of increasing minority enrollment to 25% by 2012.[4]

Notable alumniEdit

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
David Abner Jr. First African American to graduate from a college in Texas, president of Guadalupe College and Conroe College
Rev. Dr. R. H. Boyd Founder and head of the National Baptist Publishing Board [5]
Mae C. King 1960 Notable political scientist, founder of several professional organizations, and first African American and first woman on the staff of the American Political Science Association [6]
William Harris 1987 NFL player, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers [7]
Will Hill 1987 NFL player, Cleveland Browns [8]
E. Edward Jones 1961 Pastor, Galilee Baptist Church in Shreveport; civil rights leader and president from 1986 to 2003 of the National Baptist Convention of America, Inc. [9]
Manuel L. Scott, Sr. 1949 Pastor, St. John Missionary Baptist Church, One of America's 15 Greatest Black Preachers, Trustee, Bishop College, Secretary, Department of Evangelism, National Baptist Convention U.S.A. Inc.
Pastor Michael S. Williams, D.Min. 1976 Pastor, St. James Missionary Baptist Church, San Francisco, CA. Former board member (1996-1999), National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc.
Jimmy C. Baldwin, Sr. 1983 Pastor, Shiloh Christian Community Church; President, United Council of Christian Community Church of Maryland & Vicinity; Morning Preacher, 2007 Hampton University Ministers' Conference
Tony Martin Dropped out after his freshman year in 1983 and eventually transferred to Mesa State College in 1987. NFL Player, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers [10]
Bobby Brooks NFL Player, New York Giants [11]
Tony McGee 1971 NFL defensive end (Chicago, New England, Washington); transfer from Wyoming [12]
Dennis DeVaughn 1981 NFL Player, Philadelphia Eagles [13]
Elder Dr. Bernard C. Yates 1981 President, National Primitive Baptist Convention, USA, Pastor, Zion Hope Church, Pensacola, FL [14]
Elder Dr. Maynard G. Yates 1981 Senior Pastor, of the Prestigious Mount Lebanon Primitive Baptist Church, Waxahachie, Texas [14]
William Nickerson, Jr. Founder of Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, at one time largest black-owned business in the West [15][16]
Ike Thomas 1970 NFL Player, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills [17]
Emmitt Thomas 1966 Member of the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame [18]

Dr. Manuel L. Scott, Sr. Pastor of St. John's Missionary Baptist Church, one of America's 15 greatest black preachers. He was an alumnus and trustee of Bishop College and while in its financial hardships in an attempt Dr. Scott and his congregation of St. John made a donation of 100,000 dollars to help save the college.

(1986) Dr. Samuel C. Tolbert, Jr., Pastor, Greater St. Mary Missionsry Baptist Church, Lake Charles, Louisiana. 15th President, National Baptist Convention of America International, Inc.


  1. ^ "Wyalucing plantation house was at HABS TX-33-D-4". 32°32′51″N 94°22′42″W / 32.5476°N 94.3784°W / 32.5476; -94.3784 "Wyalucing, Bishop & West Bush Streets, Marshall, Harrison County, TX," Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress, retrieved 22 January 2013
  2. ^ a b Bishop College: Texas school continues historic push for academic excellence, Ebony, May 1981
  3. ^ "History of Bishop College". Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  4. ^ Moser, Kate (2008-06-06). "A Home for Alumni of a Defunct College". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 54 (39): A6. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  5. ^ Joe Early, Jr., Richard Henry Boyd: Shaper of Black Baptist Identity, Baptist History and Heritage, Summer-Fall, 2007
  6. ^ Sherri L. Wallace (January 2020). "Chronicling Our Legacy of Leadership: The Task Force Historical Record on the Founders of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists". National Review of Black Politics. 1 (1): 80⁠—131. doi:10.1525/nrbp.2020.1.1.80.
  7. ^
  8. ^
  9. ^ "Civil rights icon Rev. E. Edward Jones dies". KTBS-TV. June 9, 2016. Retrieved June 14, 2016.
  10. ^ "Tony Martin Past Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards". Database Football. Archived from the original on 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  11. ^ "BOBBY BROOKS". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  12. ^
  13. ^ "Dennis DeVaughn Past Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards". Database Football. Archived from the original on 2014-01-03. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  14. ^ a b
  15. ^ Nickerson, Kim (February 14, 2008). "Black history: Nickerson, a pioneer of black business in Los Angeles". Los Angeles Sentinel. Los Angeles, California: Los Angeles Sentinel. pp. C–3, C–4.
  16. ^ Poinsett, Alex (March 1990). "Unsung black business giants:pioneer entrepreneurs laid foundations for today's enterprises". Ebony. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. 45 (5): 96, 98, 100.
  17. ^,648495&dq=isaac-thomas+bishop-college&hl=en
  18. ^

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