Late heavyweight boxing champion Muhammad Ali is beseiged by fans as he leaves the gymnasium at Bishop College in Dallas on March 28, 1967.  The champ and minister of Black Muslims spoke to students at the predominantly Black Baptist institution (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Ferd Kaufman).


Remembering Lost HBCUs: Bishop College

If an African-American student in the 20th century wanted to study theology in the state of Texas, a good chance existed that they attended Bishop College or considered Bishop.

Like Leland College in Baker, La., founders set up Bishop College as an institution to train future clergy members in the teachings of the Holy Bible.

And during its 100 year run, some of the most influential and enlightened ministers west of the Mississippi called Bishop their home.

Unfortunately, like Leland, Bishop is often forgotten by the younger generation.

Therefore, it is the duty of the staff to resurrect Bishop from the history books and into the minds of the next generation.


  • The Baptist Home Mission Society co-founded Bishop College in 1881 in Marshall, Texas.  The school later relocated to Dallas in 1961.

  • Native New Yorker Nathan Bishop originally founded Bishop, but died before he could donate $25,000 to the Baptist Home Mission Society.  His wife, Carolina Caldwell Bishop, later donated $10,000 to begin construction on the college.

  • Local Baptist ministers in Marshall, Texas raised $1,600 to purchase a tract of land and temporarily the new school was named South-Western Baptist College.

  • In 1880, 40 more acres were bought and donated to the school and the institution became known as Bishop College.

  • Bishop College became official in 1881.

  • The school closed in 1988 after the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools revoked Bishop’s accreditation in December 1986.

  • Although the school focused on religious education, instruction was given in literature, science and the arts as well.

  • Joseph J. Rhoads became the first Black president of Bishop in 1929.

  • Famous alumni include NFL players Will Hill, Ike Thomas, Emmitt Thomas and William Harris, Pastor Michael S. Williams (former board member of National Baptist Convention), civil rights leader and pastor E. Edward Jones and pastor/author Ralph Douglas West.

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