How Morris Brown College Went From Enrolling 2,500 students To Only Having 40

Morris Brown College was once a staple HBCU located in Atlanta Georgia. The school is not only known for being the first institution of higher learning in Georgia for black people, founded by black people, but Morris Brown has also greatly attributed to American history and pop cultural. In 2006, Outkast released their hit song called Morris Brown, which features Morris Brown renowned marching band, the Marching Wolverines.

Herndon Stadium (Morris Brown stadium) once held Olympic events, and Fountain Hall, now used for storage, was once used by civil rights leader W.E.B. Du Bois. Even through all its greatness, Morris Brown still faced hardships and in 2002, the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revoked its accreditation over financial mistreatment. Because of this, faculty and staff left to find new jobs and the student population significantly dropped. Today there are only 40 students enrolled, but many people have faith that Morris Brown College will someday make a strong comeback.

Morris Brown College originally opened its doors well over 100 years ago, in 1885. Even though there were other HBCU’s in Atlanta at the time like; Morehouse, Spelman, Clark College, and Atlanta University. Morris Brown was unique because unlike the others, it was a financially independent black institution, funded almost entirely by black Americans through the AME (African Methodist Episcopal) Church. Morris Brown may not have had the financial backing that the other schools in Atlanta did at the time, but they didn’t allow that to stop them from growing and within 10 years of graduating its first class, Morris Brown went from one building to a campus with the addition of two structures. And by the 1940’s Morris Brown was doing so well that it was able to expand its campus even more by buying buildings and land from Atlanta University, making Morris Brown the owner of some of the oldest structures in Atlanta.

Things for Morris Brown were looking great, but sadly as years continued to pass and Morris Brown continued to grow, problems continued to flow in for the college. In 1992, the SACS placed Morris Brown on probation for poor accounting practices. Debts forced Morris Brown College to drop its graduate program, close satellite campuses, and file for bankruptcy.  Even though Morris Brown tried to get it together, they still fell short, and in 2002 the SACS revoked their accreditation altogether. No accreditation meant no federal financial aid or United Negro College Fund scholarships for anyone who attended Morris Brown. Many students had no choice but to transfer elsewhere and the student population greatly decreased. Students leaving weren’t the only problem, however; faculty and staff also left, Morris Brown had to sell many of its buildings, and they also lost their AUC membership, so their students could no longer take classes at surrounding HBCU’s.

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After facing so many hardships many people thought Morris Brown would be down for the count. However, thanks to support from the AME church and generous donations from Alumni, the college has managed to hold on. Today Morris Brown College is open but with a limited budget and volunteer faculty and staff. The school has yet to gain back their accreditation, but the 40 students who currently attend Morris Brown have faith that one day they will. Even with only 40 students, Morris Brown is still fighting and has made it so their students can take classes at Piedmont Technical College and use Atlanta Metropolitan State College library.

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No, things at Morris Brown College are definitely not as they use to be, and 40 students may seem more like a classroom size than an entire student body population. But, even with low numbers, Morris Brown is still working towards the bigger picture and will soon be meeting with the SACs to deliver a re-accreditation plan.

Morris Brown College has been through so much since first opening its doors to the public. They have had high points and definitely had some low ones as well, and through it all, they have shown time and time again that getting knocked down doesn’t mean you have to stay down. It may not happen today or even tomorrow, but many people still have faith that Morris Brown College will get back to being the school that we all fell in love with.

 

Twila-Amoure McDaniel31 Posts

Twila-Amoure McDaniel is a college student who is majoring in both communications and film studies. When she isn't in class she is more than likely somewhere making videos for her YouTube channel. Her passions include writing, art, and film-making and she currently has plans on going into the film industry. Twila-Amoure does have crohn's disease, however she is very determined not to allow that to stop her from achieving all of her goals in life. Be sure to follow her on all on her social media platforms @TwilaAmoure and feel free to browse through Campus Lately for more of her work.

3 Comments

  • MissADS08 Reply

    May 9, 2017 at 2:22 pm

    I absolutely have faith that Morris Brown will pull through! Pull with us! facebook.com/MorrisBrown1881

  • transgender dating Reply

    May 10, 2017 at 6:50 am

    Great site with very nice articles.
    Good writing.

  • Anonymous Reply

    May 18, 2017 at 7:18 pm

    This is such a sad story but it gives me hope that Morris brown college will make it through this

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