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A history lesson on the two schools competing in Classic

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Kentucky State University

Kentucky State University was born from a conference of concerned leaders in 1885. The state needed more African-American teachers to train an influx of African-American students but there wasn’t a school dedicated to train the teachers.

The committee devised a plan and created a State Normal School for Colored Persons. Legislators authorized the school’s creation on May 18, 1886. According to Kentucky State’s website, many schools began as “normal schools” for the sole purpose of training teachers. At that time, students enrolled in a two- to three-year program that focused on training teachers, after which they would earn their teaching certificates.

The school opened on Oct. 11, 1887 with three teachers, 55 students and one building. As the school continued to grow and change, so did its name. In 1902, the name changed to Kentucky Normal and Industrial Institute for Colored Persons and in 1926 the school became Kentucky State Industrial College for Colored Persons. The name changed again in 1938 to Kentucky State College for Negroes after the school began offering a more traditional, liberal arts education and again in 1952 simply as Kentucky State College.

When the school began offering graduate degrees in 1972, the name we know today – Kentucky State University – became official.

Albany State University

Albany State University is one of three Historically Black Colleges and Universities in Georgia. Nicknamed the Golden Rams, Joseph Winthrop Holley founded the school in 1903 as the Albany Bible and Manual Training Institute. Winthrop was inspired by reading about the plight of African-Americans in Albany, Ga., in W.E.B. DuBois’ novel The Souls of Black Folk.

The school became state supported in 1917 and changed its name to Georgia Normal and Agricultural College, and became a two-year agricultural and teacher training college.

In 1932, the school became part of the University System of Georgia and in 1943 it was granted four-year status and renamed Albany State College. The transition to four-year status heavily increased the school’s enrollment. In 1981 the college offered its first graduate program and in 1996 the name was changed to Albany State University.

The school played a significant role in the civil rights movement with the creation of the Albany Movement, which included students from the school as well as Black improvement organizations and representatives from the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee. The movement even brought Martin Luther King Jr. to town.


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