Bowie State University: A Historical Timeline

Founded in 1865, Bowie State University is Maryland's oldest historically black college or university (HBCU). The university has a rich legacy of providing academic excellence and access to education.

Bowie State University continues to make a significant impact in the state of Maryland. The university evolved from a normal school teaching the elements of education to the state’s Black citizens denied access to state-funded schools immediately following the abolition of slavery. Today, it is a comprehensive liberal arts university that offers a holistic, nurturing learning experience for students and prepares them to make positive contributions to the community.

1863-01-01 20:28:02

Emancipation Proclamation Put Into Effect for 10 Confederate States

The Emancipation Proclamation declared free the slaves in Confederate-held lands, including 10 states not then under Union control.

1864-11-01 11:35:37

Maryland Frees its Slaves with New Constitution

The new state constitution simultaneously emancipates Maryland's 87,000 slaves and establishes the state's first free public school system.

1864-12-15 11:35:37

Association Forms to Establish Schools for Newly Freed Slaves

The Baltimore Association for the Moral and Educational Improvement of Colored People is formed to establish schools for the state’s black citizens.

1865-01-01 11:35:37

Leonard Waterman, Principal, 1865-1866

Under the direction of Leonard Waterman, the founding of the first “free school” for colored children is established.

1865-01-09 11:35:37

School #1, Precursor to Bowie State, Opens in Baltimore

School #1, the precursor to Bowie State University, offers courses in the elements of education. The normal school opens in 1866.

1865-03-03 11:35:37

Freedmen’s Bureau is Established

The U.S. government forms the Freedmen’s Bureau, which provides aid to newly emancipated slaves in the Reconstruction era after the Civil War ends.

1865-06-01 11:35:37

Civil War Officially Ends

The Civil War ends when the Confederates sign the Union negotiators’ surrender terms.

1866-01-01 00:00:00

H.F. Hartwell, Principal, 1866-1869

Not only did Hartwell serve as principal, but he was also designated as the sole faculty member of the Normal School.

1867-01-01 00:00:00

Predecessor to Morgan State University Opens in Baltimore

The institution was founded as the Centenary Biblical Institute by the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church.

1867-12-16 11:35:37

Baltimore Normal School for Colored Teachers Relocated

The school relocates to the renovated Friends Meeting House at Courtland and Saratoga streets in Baltimore (Source: Drs. Simmons unpublished manuscript).

Bowie State University: A Historical Timeline

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