Central State University's history begins with our parent institution, Wilberforce University, named in honor of the great abolitionist William Wilberforce. Established at Tawawa Springs, Ohio, in 1856, it is affiliated with the African Methodist Episcopal (A.M.E.) Church and is one of the oldest Black-administered institutions of higher education in the nation.
In 1887, the Ohio General Assembly enacted legislation that created a Combined Normal and Industrial Department at Wilberforce University. The objectives of this new state-sponsored department were to provide teacher training and vocational education and to stabilize these programs by assuring a financial base similar to that of other state-supported institution. The statute establishing the Combined Normal and Industrial Department declared that the institution was "open to all applicants of good and moral character," thereby indicating no limitations as to race, color, sex, or creed. It was clear, however, that the Department and its successors were designed to serve the educational needs of African American students.
Although this department...
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