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The American Missionary Association was founded on this day in 1846 by a network of 19th Century missionaries with an aim to abolish slavery, and education escaped and freed slaves. The AMA went on the help found some of the more notable HBCUs in the nation.

The association began in Albany, N.Y., splitting with other missionary groups of the era who still accepted financial support from slave owners. From its start, the association’s leadership was racially integrated as four of its 12-man charter were Black.

As the Civil War came to its end, the association set on a task beyond the Christian ministry and bolstered its efforts in provided fair and balanced education to all. It helped establish 11 colleges and schools such as Berea College, Atlanta University, Fisk University, Hampton Institute, Tougaloo College, and Dillard University among others. Along with the Freedmen’s Bureau, the association helped found Howard University.

As the association grew in membership, it set mission camps all across the globe and then joined with the Congregational Christian Churches in 1931. That grouping of churches then merged with the United Church of Christ in the late 20th Century.

 

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