Q: What do Judiciary Square, I St., Louisiana Avenue, and Meridian Hill have in common?
A: They were all meeting places for Wayland Seminary, the Washington branch of the American Baptist Home Mission Society's National Theological Institute.
Immediately after the Civil War and Emancipation, a $1,500 grant from the Freedman's Bureau allowed NTI to form Wayland Seminary. The school was named after Dr. Francis Wayland, a former president of Brown University and anti-slavery leader and operated as center for education in Christian leadership in the District. Classes began in 1876. In 1899, Wayland merged with Richmond Theological Seminary, Hartshorn Memorial Women's College, and Storer University to form what is now Virginia Union University.
Though classes only ran for 23 years, Wayland enjoyed success under president George Mellen Prentiss King in attracting students eager to take advantage of their new freedom to learn and to serve. Wayland was Booker T. Washington's final stop before teaching at Hampton and leading the Tuskegee Institute.
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