About Southern University
Southern University and A&M College had its beginning in New Orleans, Louisiana in 1880 when a group of Black Politicians led by former U.S. Senator P.B.S. Pinchback of New Orleans; a distinguished legislator,T.T. Allain of Iberville; and Henry Demas of St. John Parish petitioned the State Constitutional Convention to establish a school of higher learning for “colored” people. As a result of the petition, Southern University came into existence on April 10, 1880 by the passage of Act 87 of the Louisiana General Assembly.
This was the date on which funds were appropriated by the State of Louisiana for the establishment of an institution of higher learning for African Americans.
The University remained in New Orleans until 1912, when Legislative Act 188 authorized its change of location from New Orleans to Baton Rouge. The University was reopened on the new site on March 9, 1914 under the presidency of Dr. J.S. Clark.
In the 1920s the University’s baccalaureate offerings were extended to four years. The University was developed into two colleges - The College of Arts and Science and The College of Education. The State for the Blind and Deaf for Blacks, which was also under the supervision of Southern University, was separated into two schools – The School for the Blind and The School for the Deaf. In 1938, Dr. J. S. Clark was succeeded by his son, Dr. Felton G. Clark.
In the early 1940s the University’s curriculum was divided into eight divisions: Agriculture, Liberal Arts, Business Education, Education, Health and Physical Education, Home Economics, Mechanical Arts, and Music. The law was established in 1947.
The divisional structure of the University remained in existence until the middle 1950s, when Business and Engineering were added. It was reorganized into the Colleges of Agriculture, Business Education, Engineering, and Liberal Arts and Science. In 1957, the Graduate School was established.
In the decade of the 1990s, the University experienced a period of growth and expansion in academics and administrative units. After a prolonged litigation, the U.S. Department of Justice, in November 1994, reached a ten-year settlement agreement with the State of Louisiana and other state public institutions for the desegregation of higher education.
The 2000s has seen Southern’s nursing, engineering and business programs grow to become among the best in the state and nation. The University’s athletic program has witnessed resurgence, especially in football and basketball. Also the world famous marching band “The Human Jukebox” is considered by many to be one of the two elite college marching bands in the nation.