In 1879, Pinckney B. S. Pinchback, T. T. Allain, T. B. Stamps and Henry Demas sponsored the movement in the Louisiana State Constitutional Convention that resulted in the establishment, in the City of New Orleans, of an institution "for the education of person of color." This institution was chartered as Southern University, in April, 1880, by the General Assembly of the State of Louisiana. The state government under Congressional leadership, gave unswerving support to the rise of public schools. "In all the southern states," "the great American Principle of free public school for all children was written into the new constitutions or other statutes." These measures were vigorously urged by black Reconstructionists who realized that ignorance was one of the major obstacles to the progress of black Americans. No support for the striving of blacks was, perhaps, more sincere than their self-help efforts. In the Louisiana legislature, the improvement of education was the most immediate concern of the Constitutional Convention delegates and later legislators. With a black illiteracy of over 40 percent in New Orleans, urgency was required. In the Convention one black delegate favored a strong educational system because it would "elevate and enrich
H ow D i d Southern University Come About?