Events continue at Delaware State University to mark 1890 land grant

DOVER— Delaware State University continues to remember the importance of the 125th anniversary of the 1890 Morrill Act through various events held on its campus.

The federal legislation is responsible for the school’s establishment one year later as a “land-grant” college.

Events have been held throughout the week and will continue today at the 1890 Day Wellness Walk and Carnival from 11 a.m. to 1 p.m.

There is a registration fee of $18.90, which will help establish the Justin S. Morrill Memorial Scholarship fund for DSU students.

“This week is significant because it gives us a chance to honor our past,” said DSU President Dr. Harry L. Williams

In 1890, U.S. Sen. Justin Morrill crafted the Second Morrill Act to further his vision of higher education for all.

This second land-grant act became law on Aug. 30, 1890, as it improved upon the first Morrill Act of 1862 by creating institutions, like Delaware State University, for minority residents of primarily Southern states who were denied admission to the publicly funded and supported 1862 land-grant universities.

Following the enactment of the 1890 Morrill Act, Delaware received funding from that legislation resulting in the establishment of the state’s only historically black institution of higher education, the State College for Colored Students, which ultimately became Delaware State University.

DSU and the other 18 campuses that comprise the 1890 land-grant system continue to provide students with access to education that enhances their opportunities for future success.

“That act created many opportunities for African Americans to attend college when we when didn’t have them,” Dr. Williams said. “African Americans didn’t have the luxury to enroll in higher education and when states elected to create colleges Delaware State evolved out of that. It’s an incredible part of our legacy.”

The walk will start at the same time of all the other 19 universities of the land grant as well.

“It’s the unity that’s connected with it,” Dr. Williams said. “We’re all here in a positive way and it showcases to the country the importance of all of the institutions.”

At Wednesday night’s event guest speaker Joe Madison, nationally known satellite radio political and civil rights talk show host gave a few encouraging words to students moving forward.

“There are people that watch things happen, those that make things happen and those that wake up in the morning and asked what just happened,” Mr. Madison said. “That should be the theme of the anniversary that we’re celebrating.”

“You should tell every student that walk through these doors that service is more important than success, people are more important than possessions and that principles are more important than power.”

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