Page:Women of distinction.djvu/187

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WOMEN OF DISTINCTION.

CHAPTER XXXII.

HISTORY OF FISK UNIVERSITY FOR

TWENTY-FIVE YEARS.

Fisk University, the fame of which is world-wide, owes its origin and foundation to the generous and Christian efforts of the American Missionary Association under whose fostering care it still remains.

At the close of the war this noble Association felt itself especially called and providentially prepared to diffuse knowledge among the lately emancipated negroes of the South who had already showed such a surprising thirst for it. For this purpose various small schools were established in different sections of the South. In September, 1865, the Association commissioned Rev. E. P. Smith as District Secretary at Cincinnati, and Rev. E. M. Cravath as Field Agent, with instructions to undertake the opening of Christian schools for the freedmen of Kentucky, Tennessee and portions of Georgia and Alabama. The two men reached Nashville October 3d and found General Clinton B. Fisk in command of Tennessee and Kentucky, as Commissioner of the Freedmen's Bureau, with Professor John Ogden on his staff as Superintendent of Education.

Messrs. Smith and Cravath decided that Nashville was the natural and strategic center for the extensive educational movement which they had been sent to inaugurate in Tennessee and adjoining States. In searching for the location their attention was called to the United