Cheyney University of Pennsylvania has claimed the distinction of being the first HBCU in the nation, although some grant that honor to Lincoln University in the same state. The university was founded on February 25, 1837.
Quaker Robert Humphreys granted $10,000 of his estate to establish the African Institute, which he envisioned as a training hub for Black teachers and for potential Black students. The school was renamed The Institute of Colored Youth and was eventually relocated to a farm owned by George Cheyney in 1902.
Throughout the 20th Century, the school underwent several name changes before landing on its current name, established in the ‘80s. Cheyney didn’t start issuing degrees until 1914, thus the debate with Lincoln, which was a chartered higher institution since 1854. However, it may be fair to call Cheyney the oldest higher learning institution for Black students.
Notable Cheyney alumni include television journalists Ed Bradley and Jim Vance. Chester, Pa. Mayor Thaddeus Kirkland also attended Cheyney.
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