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Spelman College, BOMA Minute

On this day, April 11, 1881 Spelman College was established as The Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary in the basement of Friendship Baptist Church in Atlanta, Georgia. It was founded by Harriet E. Giles and Sophia B. Packard who traveled to Atlanta from New Salem, Massachusetts for the express purpose of starting a school of higher education for black freedwomen. Pastor Frank Quarrels of Friendship Baptist donated the space and they started the school with 11 African American women and $100.

In 1882 the ladies returned to Massachusetts in search of funds to support the project and were introduced to John D. Rockefeller. He was so impressed with their vision that he visited the school in 1884, which had now grown to 600 students and 16 faculty members. It is reputed that Laura Spelman requested her husband to settle the debt on the land. Rockefeller's wife Laura, her sister Lucy and their parents, Harvey and Lucy Henry Spelman, were also generous supporters of the school. The Spelman’s were longtime activists in the abolitionist movement. Thus, in 1884 the Atlanta Baptist Female Seminary was re-named Spelman Seminary in honor of Laura Spelman, John D. Rockefeller's wife.

This has been an educational Breath of My Ancestors Minute brought to you by the Institute of Radical Reconciliation… #WeMustNeverForget


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