Bishop College
Location, ,
32°40′41″N 96°45′19″W / 32.6781°N 96.7552°W / 32.6781; -96.7552

Bishop College was a historically black college, founded in Marshall, Texas, United States, in 1881 by the Baptist Home Mission Society. It was intended to serve students in east Texas, where the majority of the black population lived at the time. In 1961 the administration moved the college into Dallas, Texas. It closed in 1988.

In 2006 the president of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky reached out to Bishop College alumni, proposing to have them "adopt" his college as an alma mater. He offered scholarships to their descendants, with a chance to have their diploma read "Bishop College". This was part of an effort to increase minority enrollment at Georgetown.


1850 plot plan of Bishop College (Wyalucing)

The college was founded by the Baptist Home Mission Society in 1881 as the result of a movement to build a college for African-American Baptists. Nathan Bishop, who had been the superintendent of several major school systems in New England, started this effort. Baylor University President Rufus C. Burleson secured a pledge of $25,000 from Judge Bishop to start the college during a meeting of the National Baptist Education Society meeting in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.

A committee of Baptist ministers from East Texas, where most African Americans then lived, selected a location in Marshall, on land belonging to the Holcomb Plantation, Wyalucing.[1]

For the college's first several decades, Bishop's faculty and administration were staffed largely by European Americans. The first African American appointed as president was Joseph J. Rhoads, who started in 1929 and served through the Great Depression and World War II.[2] During his presidency, Bishop phased out the high school preparatory programs associated with the college, which had operated to help students compensate for failures in public education. He emphasized the college's new two-year ministerial program.

During the 1930s and 1940s, the ministerial program was developed as the Lacy Kirk Williams Institute. It moved to Dallas when the college moved in 1961. The Lacy Kirk Williams Institute evolved into a week-long seminar which attracted well-known preachers including Jessie Jackson and Martin Luther King, Sr. in 1975. (source, Lloyd Thompson's dissertation for North Texas University, p 34–35)

In 1961, after receiving a grant from the Hoblitzelle Foundation, Bishop moved to a 360-acre (1.5 km2) campus in Dallas. It was able to attract more students there. In Dallas, enrollments increased, peaking at almost 2,000 students around 1970.[2]

The college closed in 1988 after a financial scandal led to the revocation of its accreditation, and its eligibility to receive funds from charities such as the United Negro College Fund. Purchased in 1990 by Comer S. Cottrell, the campus is now used by Paul Quinn College.[3]

In 2006, the president of Georgetown College in Georgetown, Kentucky proposed a plan to Bishop College alumni to make Georgetown their adopted alma mater. Georgetown offers scholarships to children or grandchildren of Bishop alumni or students nominated by Bishop alumni. Upon graduation, these students receive diplomas with the name and insignia of Bishop College. Georgetown president William H. Crouch Jr. hopes the program will help the college reach its goal of increasing minority enrollment to 25% by 2012.[4]


The Bishop athletic teams were called the Tigers. The college was a member of the National Association of Intercollegiate Athletics (NAIA), primarily competing as an NAIA Independent from 1965–66 to the school's closure in 1987–88. The Tigers previously competed in the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference (GCAC) from 1958–59 to 1964–65, and the South Central Athletic Conference from 1956–57 to 1957–58. They were also a founding member of the Southwestern Athletic Conference (SWAC) from 1920–21 to 1955–56, which is currently an NCAA Division I FCS athletic conference.

Notable alumni

Listed below is a list of select notable alumni, listed in alphabetical order by last name.

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
David Abner Jr. First African American to graduate from a college in Texas, president of Guadalupe College and Conroe College
TeCora Ballom United States Assistant Surgeon General, U.S. Public Health Service [5]
Harry Blake pastor and civil rights leader in Shreveport, Louisiana[6][7]
R. H. Boyd Founder and head of the National Baptist Publishing Board [8]
Ella J. Bradley-Hughley 1907 choir director, and a soprano soloist, popular from 1911 until 1918 in Los Angeles, California [9]
Bobby Brooks NFL Player, New York Giants [10]
William Harris 1987 NFL player, St. Louis Cardinals, Tampa Bay Buccaneers, Green Bay Packers [11]
Mae C. King 1960 Notable political scientist, founder of several professional organizations, and first African American and first woman on the staff of the American Political Science Association [12]
Tony Martin Dropped out after his freshman year in 1983 and eventually transferred to Mesa State College in 1987. NFL Player, Miami Dolphins and San Diego Chargers [13]
Tony McGee 1971 NFL defensive end (Chicago, New England, Washington); transfer from Wyoming [14]
Sybil Collins Mobley Educator, founder of the Florida A&M University business school
William Nickerson, Jr. Founder of Golden State Mutual Life Insurance Company, at one time largest black-owned business in the West [15][16]
Ike Thomas 1970 NFL Player, Dallas Cowboys, Green Bay Packers and Buffalo Bills [17]
Emmitt Thomas 1966 Member of the NFL Pro Football Hall of Fame [18]
Michael S. Williams 1976 Pastor, St. James Missionary Baptist Church, San Francisco, CA. Former board member (1996-1999), National Baptist Convention U.S.A., Inc.


  1. ^ "Wyalucing plantation house was at HABS TX-33-D-4". Library of Congress. 32°32′51″N 94°22′42″W / 32.5476°N 94.3784°W / 32.5476; -94.3784 "Wyalucing, Bishop & West Bush Streets, Marshall, Harrison County, TX," Historic American Buildings Survey, Library of Congress, retrieved 22 January 2013
  2. ^ a b Bishop College: Texas school continues historic push for academic excellence, Ebony, May 1981
  3. ^ "History of Bishop College". Archived from the original on January 10, 2013. Retrieved May 28, 2012.
  4. ^ Moser, Kate (2008-06-06). "A Home for Alumni of a Defunct College". The Chronicle of Higher Education. 54 (39): A6. Retrieved 2008-06-03.
  5. ^ "Assistant Surgeon General TeCora Ballom, DO, is ready to safeguard public health". 20 January 2017.
  6. ^ "'He was an instrument of change': Civil Rights icon Dr. Harry Blake has died at 85".
  7. ^ "Rev. Harry Blake, Louisiana civil rights icon from Shreveport, dies at 85: 'He was a giant' | Coronavirus |".
  8. ^ Joe Early, Jr., Richard Henry Boyd: Shaper of Black Baptist Identity, Baptist History and Heritage, Summer-Fall, 2007
  9. ^ Beasley, Delilah Leontium (1919). The Negro Trail Blazers of California: A Compilation of Records from the California Archives in the Bancroft Library at the University of California in Berkeley and from the Diaries, Old Papers and Conversations of Old Pioneers in the State of California. Times Mirror Print. and Binding House. pp. 216–217.
  10. ^ "BOBBY BROOKS". Archived from the original on November 29, 2014. Retrieved November 15, 2014.
  11. ^ "William Harris Stats, News and Video - TE".
  12. ^ Sherri L. Wallace (January 2020). "Chronicling Our Legacy of Leadership: The Task Force Historical Record on the Founders of the National Conference of Black Political Scientists". National Review of Black Politics. 1 (1): 80⁠–131. doi:10.1525/nrbp.2020.1.1.80.
  13. ^ "Tony Martin Past Stats, Statistics, History, and Awards". Database Football. Archived from the original on 2013-04-08. Retrieved 2014-01-26.
  14. ^ "Tony McGee Stats, News and Video - TE".
  15. ^ Nickerson, Kim (February 14, 2008). "Black history: Nickerson, a pioneer of black business in Los Angeles". Los Angeles Sentinel. Los Angeles, California. pp. C–3, C–4.
  16. ^ Poinsett, Alex (March 1990). "Unsung black business giants:pioneer entrepreneurs laid foundations for today's enterprises". Ebony. Chicago, Illinois: Johnson Publishing Company, Inc. 45 (5): 96, 98, 100.
  17. ^ "The Press-Courier - Google News Archive Search".
  18. ^ "Emmitt Thomas | Pro Football Hall of Fame Official Site".