The school began when Richard Humphreys (a man born in the West Indies) traveled to America and witnessed the atrocities facing Black people at that time.
He was devastated by the oppression of Black people and was compelled to make a difference. He knew that education would be instrumental to free slaves and thus, Mr. Humphreys bequest $10,000 in his will to be used to start “The Institute For Colored Youth” (which later became Cheyney University of Pennsylvania).
Let’s just take a minute to let this sink in for just a second. “The Institute for Colored Youth” was started in 1837. What was happening during that time period? Exactly, it was slavery. It was illegal for Black people to even be educated, let alone go to school. Plus, this was 24 years BEFORE the Civil War even began. How can a school for Black people even be created during slavery?
A time when possessing a book was egregious because of the color of your skin. This is nothing short of a miracle and for that, we should ALL be in “awe” that this school started in the first place.