talladega college

A Moment in History

The Amistad Murals consists of three panels: The Revolt, The Court Scene, and Back to Africa. They are housed in Savery Library and are known as one of artist Hale Aspacio Woodruffą¢„st known works.

Talladega College History

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The history of Talladega College began on November 20, 1865 when two former slaves, William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, both of Talladega, met in convention with a group of new freedmen in Mobile, Alabama. From this meeting came the commitment: ”…We regard the education of our children and youths as vital to the preservation of our liberties, and true religion as the foundation of all real virtue, and shall use our utmost endeavors to promote these blessings in our common country.“

With this pledge, Savery and Tarrant, aided by General Wager Swayne of the Freedmen’s Bureau, began in earnest to provide a school for the children of former slaves of the community. Their leadership resulted in the construction of a one-room schoolhouse, using lumber salvaged from an abandoned carpenter’s shop. The school overflowed with pupils from its opening, and soon it was necessary to move into larger quarters.

Meanwhile, the nearby Baptist Academy was about to be sold under mortgage default. This building had been built in 1852-53 with the help of slaves, including Savery and Tarrant. A speedy plea for its purchase was sent to General Swayne. General Swayne then persuaded the American Missionary Association to buy the building and 20 acres of land for $23,000. The grateful parents renamed the building Swayne School, and it opened in November of 1867 with about 140 pupils. Thus, a building constructed with slave labor for white students became the home of the state’s first private, liberal arts college dedicated to servicing the educational needs of blacks. In 1869 Swayne School was issued a charter as Talladega College by the Judge of Probate of Talladega County. Twenty years later, in 1889, the Alabama State Legislature exempted properties of the college from taxation.

Swayne Hall has remained in service as the symbol and spirit of the beginning of the college. Foster Hall, erected for girls and teachers in 1869, was the first building added after the college was chartered. Stone Hall, for boys and teachers, was built the next year. Other buildings were added over the school’s first hundred years. The training of leaders in education was the first and has been a continuing interest of the institution. The first courses offered above elementary grades were normal courses for teachers. An outline for collegiate level coursework first appeared in the catalog for the year 1890. In 1895 the first class graduated with the bachelor’s degree.

Talladega College is now listed among the Princeton Review’s best colleges in the Southeast; included in the U.S. News and World Report’s Best Colleges guide in three categories - best HBCUs, National Liberal Arts Colleges, and Top Performers on Social Mobility; and Kiplinger’s Best Value Colleges. Talladega recently launched its first-ever graduate program, an online Master of Science in Computer Information Systems. In addition, the campus is undergoing a major physical transformation.

New construction on campus includes a 45,000-square-foot, state-of-the-art residence hall, which opened in January 2019; the Dr. William R. Harvey Museum of Art, which opened in January 2020 and houses Hale Woodruff’s acclaimed Amistad Murals; and the Dr. Billy C. Hawkins Student Activity Center, which opened in August 2020.



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Admissions Contact Information

By Mail:
Office of Admissions
Talladega College
627 Battle Street West
Talladega, AL 35160

Phone: (866) 540-3956
or (256) 362-0274
Email: admissions@talladega.edu



The history of Talladega College began on November 20, 1865, when two former slaves William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, both of Talladega, met in convention with a group of new freedmen in Mobile, Alabama.

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