Paine College, a historically black college in Augusta, is a private, coeducational, liberal arts institution affiliated with the Christian Methodist Episcopal Church (CME Church). Accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, Paine College offers undergraduate degrees in the liberal arts, business administration, and education through residential, commuter, and off-site programs.
Another milestone of 1886 was the school's acquisition of land in central Augusta, on Fifteenth Street, where the college sits today on fifty-seven acres. In 1903, as part of a focus to strengthen the school's collegiate-level classes, the name was changed to Paine College. Paine maintained its liberal arts curriculum during these years, despite the idea, famously advocated by Booker T. Washington in his Atlanta Compromise Speech of 1895, that schools serving black students should offer more technical courses, such as masonry or carpentry. The school discontinued its elementary
Despite the institution's reputation as an enterprise of both black and white Methodists, Paine's faculty was initially all white. After local blacks questioned this practice, the college's trustees voted to integrate the faculty and allow for interracial enrollment. John Wesley Gilbert, a graduate of Paine and later of Brown University in Providence, Rhode Island, became the first black faculty member in 1888.
Despite such efforts, however, the model of racial cooperation offered by Paine College was not always accepted by the outside world. During the civil rights movement, Paine students were active in advocating for social change. In early 1960 the Paine College Steering Committee, made up of student leaders from campus organizations, met regularly to coordinate and organize local student demonstrations. The group held sit-ins, marches, and pray-ins to protest discrimination and to advocate for the desegregation of Augusta's buses, restaurants, and businesses, as well as
In 1968 a mysterious fire erupted on Paine's campus and gutted Haygood Hall, which housed administrative offices, classrooms, and meeting space. The fire also destroyed a treasured, rare collection of African artifacts. By 1978 the administration building had been reconstructed and renamed Haygood-Holsey Hall.
Administrations and Alumni
Paine College has been under the direction of many distinguished presidents, including its first, Morgan Callaway (1882-84), and two of its longest-serving, George Williams Walker (1884-1911) and E. Clayton Calhoun (1956-70).
Notable alumni include Frank Yerby, the first black author in the United States to write a best-selling novel; Channing H. Tobias, a prominent civil rights leader and an alternate representative to the United Nations; and Michael Thurmond, an attorney and the first African American elected as Georgia's labor commissioner.
In 2009 Paine had approximately 900 students and 58 full-time faculty. Continuing in the spirit of Paine's founding principles, approximately 50 percent of the faculty members are African American, with the remainder closely split between white faculty and those of other ethnicities. The college competes in Division II of the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference, with teams in men's and women's basketball, track, and cross country; men's golf and baseball; and women's softball and volleyball.
George E. Clary, Paine College, Augusta, Georgia: An Account of Its Beginnings (1882-1903) (Brunswick, Ga.: Lemmond Letter Shop, 1975).
William Graham, Patterns of Intergroup Relations in the Cooperative Establishment, Control and Administration of Paine College (New York: New York University, 1955).
Kamille Bostick, University of Georgia
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