History of Oakwood

By: Kyra Richardson, Reporter

February is Black History Month. With Oakwood, a historically black Seventh-day Adventist university, being in such close proximity to ASCTE we are now sharing Oakwood’s History

Oakwood was established on the former Beasley plantation in 1896. Ellen White of the Southern Missionary Society and Charles M. Kinney envisioned Oakwood as an institution to educate African Americans in the southern United States. Sixteen students were in the first class; they enrolled in a curriculum that had paths for various trades and skills. 

It was renamed Oakwood Training School in 1904. Then, by 1907, they were able to grant degrees. Two years later, Oakwood graduated its first class containing five students. In 1917, the institution was again renamed as the Oakwood Junior College and reached its highest enrollment of 100 students. Also in 1917, James I. Beardsley was elected president. By 1927, Oakwood doubled their enrollment numbers. In 1931 after the students’ riot against the university’s white leadership, Oakwood appointed their first black president, Professor J.L. Moran. Later on, in 1944, the university took the name of Oakwood College. 

 Martin Luther King Jr. visited the college in 1962 and inspired the college to hold a commitment to civil rights during the movement. The Oakwood students that participated in protests, sit-ins and other forms of resistance were mostly male. Women were facing oppression during this period and were being actively reinforced into their circumscribed roles.  

Oakwood finally changed their name to Oakwood University, which is the name they use currently, in 2007. At present, the college grants degrees for forty-seven of their academic programs. Their students come from at least forty-two of the states and approximately thirty countries. Another program that was developed in 1952 and continues even now was outreach and education for the incarcerated public of the Madison County Jail. This was created by Mary Inez Booth, who was the chair of the Music Department. 

We thank Oakwood University for their kindness during our new school’s transition process. It is amazing to know that the people here at the Alabama School of Cyber Technology and Engineering are part of a community with such a rich history. 

Edited by Seth Birdsong, Jaelyn Longino, and Tanner Wright

Source: http://encyclopediaofalabama.org/article/h-2500 

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