1890 Land Grant History

The United States Civil War, which took place from April 1861 to April 1865, was the single most important factor leading to the creation of conditions favorable for the establishment and development of the educational institutions for the Negro in the Southern States.  The end of the war marked the close of a 244-year era (1519-1863), during which the Negro was held in slavery.  It was an era in which it was considered a criminal offense to instruct the Negro in any but the most rudimentary domestic skills. In 1862, the United States Congress passed the first Morrill Act which provided for the establishment of a Land-Grant institution in each state to educate citizens in the fields of Agriculture, Home Economics, the Mechanic Arts, and other useful professions. In the South, under the races, the Negro was not permitted to attend the institutions first established under the Morrill Act of 1862. Although the law did provide for separate but equal facilities, only Mississippi and Kentucky established first Morrill Act, and only Alcorn University was designated “Land-Grant.”

Even with the enactment of the Morrill Act of 1862, the Federal government was unable to gain cooperation from the Southern States in the provision of land-grant support to the Negro institutions. To overcome this problem, a second Morrill Act was passed in 1890 specifically to support the Negro Land-Grant institutions. Thus, the Negro Land- Grant institutions are referred to today as “The 1890 Institutions.” Those Southern States which did not have Negro institutions by 1890 each established one later under this Act.

Tuskegee Institute was created by an Act of the Alabama Legislature; however, 12 years later, the state established and incorporated a Board of Trustees and named the school private. Thus, it is not a Land-Grant College, in spite of the fact that it was granted 25,000 acres of land by the United States Congress in 1899. The triple-mission of the land-grant institutions is the concept of research, instruction, and extension service. The 1890 institutions and Tuskegee Institute came into existence in the following sequence:


1866 Lincoln University Civil War Negro Infantry
1871  Alcorn State University  State Legislature
1872  South Carolina State University  State Legislature
1873  University of Arkansas, Pine Bluff  State Legislature
1875  Alabama A&M University  Group of Ex-Slaves
1876  Prairie View A&M University  State Legislature
 1890  Southern University  State Legislature
 1881  Tuskegee Institute  State Legislature
 1882  Virginia State College  State Legislature
 1886  Kentucky State University  State Legislature
 1886  University of Maryland Eastern Shore  Methodist Episcopal Church
 1887  Florida A&M University  State Legislature
 1891  Delaware State College  State Legislature
 1891  North Carolina A&T University  State Legislature
 1895  Fort Valley State College  Citizens’ Group
 1897  Langston University  Territorial Legislature
 1909  Tennessee State University  State Legislature

Map of 1890 Land Grant

Source: http://www.umes.edu/fdl/new_page_4.htm 7/18/2011