Four-Year: Colleges and Universities

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Philander Smith College

Philander Smith College was the first historically black, four-year college in Arkansas and the first historically black college to be accredited by a regional accrediting institution. Enrollment as of September 2014 was 553 students. Like most of the African-American colleges and universities in the United States, Philander Smith College originated in the Bureau of Refugees, Freedmen and Abandoned Lands (commonly known as the Freedmen’s Bureau). The War Department organized the Freedmen’s Bureau on March 3, 1865, just before the Civil War ended. Throughout its six-year existence, the bureau sold confiscated properties and raised money to help the freed slaves gain access to the rights that they were denied during slavery. Among these was the right to be educated. In 1869, …