An African American History Site
City Directories and History: It was founded as the Clinton Institute in 1894 and named after Bishop Caleb Isom Clinton, the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church‘s Palmetto Conference presiding bishop at the time. On June 22, 1909, it was incorporated as Clinton Normal and Industrial Institute.
Clinton College was one of many schools established by the African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church during Reconstruction years, to help eradicate illiteracy among
freedmen. Clinton is the oldest institution of higher education in Rock Hill, South Carolina. The College has operated continuously for 120 years. In 1894, Presiding Elder Nero A. Crockett and Rev. W.M. Robinson founded Clinton Institute and named it for Bishop Caleb Isom Clinton, the Palmetto Conference presiding bishop at the time. (See PDF article by Louise Pettus on this page.)
The YV Enquirer reported on July 11, 1894 – “The colored Methodist Conference has decided to establish a school for colored youths in Rock Hill. Capt. W.L. Roddey and Capt. L.M. Davis have donated a sight of 4.5 acres in the Southwest suburbs of the city and it is believed work will begin on the building in August.”
The Rock Hill Herald reported on June 24, 1899 – “Eight summer schools will be held for training African American teachers by the Supt. of Education around the state this summer. One will be at the Clinton Institute from July 4 – 31st.”
The Herald reported on Jan. 30, 1901 – “The Rt Rev. George Wylie Clinton, the Bishop of the AME Zion Church with residence in Charlotte, was a citizen of Rock Hill some twenty years ago and at that time he was a porter in the store of W.L. Roddey and Company. He is now one of the leading colored men of the South.”
The Herald reported on May 20, 1903 – “The 9th annual commencement exercises at Clinton Institute were celebrated with a week long series of events. On Wednesday the display of the industrial dept. included an address by Pres. Crockett. On Thursday the joint literary societies met with an address by the Rev. C.M. Young. On Friday the primary school closed on Sunday there was an address by Rev. G.W. Ingram of Fort Lawn. One Monday the promotional exercises of the graded school saw eleven pupils promoted. On Wednesday the former pupils and graduates gathered for the graduation ceremonies with annual speak Rev. Marion Auld and pray by Bishop I. C. Clinton of Lancaster.”
Incorporated as Clinton Normal and Industrial Institute on June 22, 1909, the school was authorized to grant state teacher certificates. By the late 1940’s, the College attracted 225 students per year and owned approximately 19 acres, several buildings, and equipment valued at several million dollars. Under Dr. Sallie V. Moreland, who retired in 1994 after 47 years of stellar service, the school charter was amended to create Clinton Junior College. When Dr. Cynthia L. McCullough Russell assumed leadership, the school prepared for accreditation, attained during the tenure of Dr. Elaine Johnson Copeland.
The Herald reported on May 27, 1941 – “Friendship College will hold graduation ceremonies. There are sixty graduates in the college department and twelve in the high school department. Clinton College will graduate about fifteen in the college department and thirteen in the high school. Emmett Scott High School graduates twenty seven student.”
May 2013, the Transnational Association for Christian Colleges and Schools (TRACS) approved the College to offer two four-year programs; a Bachelor of Arts in Religious Studies, and a Bachelor of Science in Business Administration. In view of the four-year programs, the school’s name was changed from Clinton Junior College, to Clinton College. (Information from the college’s Wikipedia Site – https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Clinton_Junior_College)
From the Rock Hill Herald, December 2, 1896: A Report on the Colored Schools
Friendship Institute: This school has 150 pupils. This is a Baptist institution with Rev. W. M. Murray, Rev. M. P. Hull, and Mrs. E. C. Murray in charge. They have a large two-story school house in the rear of the new Baptist Church in the extreme western part of the city.
St. Paul’s: A mission Episcopal school is presided over by J. Parker. This school has about 50 pupils and is situated near the residence of Capt. L. M. Davis.
Clinton Institute: This is a large boarding and home school under Methodist control. The school is about a mile south of town on the Chester road. The furniture and fixtures are of the latest pattern. R. J. Crockett, M. D. Lee, and Mrs. Perry Walker compose the faculty. The enrollment is about 45.
Hermon Presbyterian School: This school is situated in the grove opposite the Globe Mill. Rev. and Mrs. C. M. Young conduct the school. The enrollment is about 95.
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The history of the school was published in 1952 in the City Without Cobwebs, which stated: “Clinton Normal and Industrial College was established in 1894 as the Clinton Normal and Industrial Institute. Its two founders were Noah A. Crockett and the Reverend W. M. Robinson. It has always occupied the site on Crawford Road (named for Dr. Tom Crawford who lived on Hampton St., where the current RH City Hall stands – 2015), where in the beginning
Captain W. L. Roddey and Captain L. M. Davis (business leaders in Rock Hill’s downtown community), each gave two acres of land. This campus has grown to nineteen acres. When the school first opened its doors, only twenty-five pupils and one teacher were on hand. From this it has grown to 225 students and several buildings, which, with their equipment, are valued at a quarter of a million dollars.”
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