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Once known as Biddle University, Johnson C. Smith University is Charlotte's only historic black colleges. The CatawbaPresbytery gathered after the Civil War and raised the funds for a school to educate the newly freed men. It opened its doors in 1867 as Biddle Memorial Institute then later changed its name to Biddle University in 1876. In 1922, Jane Berry Smith, of Pittsburgh, Pa., gave funds to build a theological dormitory, science hall, teachers' cottage and memorial gate. She provided a handsome endowment for the institution in memory of her late husband, Johnson C. Smith. In recognition of these gifts, the board of trustees changed the name of the institution to Johnson C. Smith University.
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