June 30, 2011
Southland College was founded near Helena (Phillips County) in 1865 by Quaker missionaries intent on aiding orphans displaced by the Civil War. The school for orphans quickly began to enroll local African-American children eager to learn, becoming the first school of higher education for African Americans west of the Mississippi. By the mid-1880s, the school, which consisted of five buildings, was educating approximately 300 students. The school closed in 1925 after about sixty years of service.