The State of Florida vs Florida A&M University – A brief look back at racial desegregation

Florida A&M University Bragg Stadium 2022

This is a brief look at how the press reported on how racial desegregation of Florida’s only public historically black university impacted the Florida A&M University. Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University (Florida A&M University/FAMU) is a public land-grant university in Tallahassee, Florida and was founded on October 3, 1887.

In 1884, Thomas Van Renssaler Gibbs, a Duval County, FL educator, was elected to the Florida legislature. Although his political career ended abruptly because of the resurgence of racial segregation, Representative Gibbs was successful in orchestrating the passage of House Bill 133 in 1884. This bill established a white normal school in Gainesville and a school for African Americans in Jacksonville. The bill passed, creating both institutions; however, the state decided to relocate the school for African Americans to Tallahassee.

In 1891, the College received $7,500 under the Second Morrill Act for agricultural and mechanical arts education. The State Normal College for Colored Students became Florida’s land grant institution for African Americans, and its name was changed to the State Normal and Industrial College for Colored Students.

In 1905, management of the College was transferred from the Board of Education to the Board of Control. This significant event officially designated the College as an institution of higher education.

In 1909 the name was changed from The State Normal College for Colored Students to Florida Agricultural and Mechanical College for Negroes (FAMC). The following year, with an enrollment of 317 students, the college awarded its first degrees.

The Florida legislature elevated the College to university status, and in 1953, Florida A&M College became Florida Agricultural and Mechanical University.
Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka was a landmark 1954 Supreme Court case in which the justices ruled unanimously that racial segregation of children in public schools was unconstitutional. Brown v. Board of Education was one of the cornerstones of the civil rights movement, and helped establish the precedent that “separate-but-equal” education and other services were not, in fact, equal at all.

Here are some noted activities impacting Florida A&M University from the 1960s to the early 1980s. 

Click images below to enlarge for better viewing. Click your return icon to return to this page after enlarging. 

1964 Sept 8 FAMU White Enrollment

1964 Sept 19 FAMU Proposed Closing

1965 May 4 FAMU Proposed Closing

1965 Dec 16 FAMU Law School

1966 Jan 6 FSU Law School

1966 March 22 FAMU Law School

1966 March 30 FAMU Law Scholol Closed

1967 Jan 20 FAMU Hospital Closing 01

1967 Jan 20 FAMU Hospital Closing 02

1967 Jan 20 FAMU Hospital Closing 03

1967 Jan 20 FAMU Hospital Closing 04

1970 March 7 FAMU Merger

1971 April 22 FAMU Merger

1971 May 12 FAMU Ouf of State Enrollment

1973 June 5 FAMU Desegregation

1973 Aug 12 FAMU First White Sttudent and Graduate

1974 May 3 FAMU Relocation

1974 June 22 FAMU White Students

1974 Aug 4 FAMU Architecture

1975 Aug 31 FAMU Desegregation 01

1975 Aug 31 FAMU Desegregation 02

1975 Sept 16 Architecture School

1975 Nov 16 FAMU Architecture 01

1975 Nov 16 FAMU Architecture 02

1982 Jan 15 FAMU FSU Engineering

1982 Feb 12 FAMU FSU Engineering School

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