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"Let There Be Light"

Biddle Hall, Johnson C. Smith University

After the Civil War, there was a need for schools for blacks throughout the south. During a 1867 meeting of the Presbyterian Church, a mission school for blacks was established on land donated by Colonel W.R. Myers. Philanthropist Mary Biddle of Philadelphia donated a large amount of money to the institution and the school was named Biddle Memorial Institute in honor of her family. The name of the college changed to Johnson C. Smith on March 1, 1923 in recognition of the financial generosity of Jane Berry Smith whose donation was in honor of her late husband. The school continues to open doors for many young black students in search of a college education. Today Johnson C. Smith has an enrollment of 1,457 students. “Let There Be Light” is the school's motto.

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