- Associated Press - Friday, February 12, 2016

JEFFERSON CITY, Mo. (AP) - A historically black university in Missouri is celebrating the 150th anniversary of its founding soon after the end of the Civil War.

The Jefferson City News Tribune (http://bit.ly/1PR5OGQ ) reports that two black students began their studies in Jefferson City in September of 1866. The event was celebrated Thursday during a ceremony at Lincoln University.

Soldiers in a black infantry unit from Missouri decided to start the school and pledged money while they were in Texas, waiting to get out of the Army after the Civil War’s end. The black soldiers had begun to learn how to read and write during the war, with help from their white officers.

Just 19 years before the school started, Missouri lawmakers had said it was illegal to teach slaves and other blacks how to read and write.

During the convocation celebrating the founding 150 years ago, people connected to the university spoke about the school’s history. The Rev. Lee Clayton Goodman, senior pastor of St. John AME Church in St. Louis and a 1982 Lincoln graduate, noted in his keynote address that the founders had three stipulations for the new school’s operations.

“The institution shall be designed for the specific benefit of the freed blacks,” Goodman said. “It shall be located in the state of Missouri. Its fundamental idea shall be to combine labor and study.”

Goodman said that the university’s founders were living examples of the same race equality messages being espoused in the public today.

“Well over 150 years before young people around this nation began to espouse the phrase, ‘Black Lives Matter,’ these soldiers by their actions were echoing in no uncertain terms that all lives do matter.”

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Information from: Jefferson City News Tribune, http://www.newstribune.com

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