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Daniel Payne College: Remembering Lost HBCUs

by Shane Thomas


Money woes have hit many Historically Black Colleges and Universities extremely hard (Photo Credit: AP Photo/Tim Uhlman).


Remembering Lost HBCUs: Daniel Payne College


Enrollment at Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) has increased over the last couple of years.

Some say this enrollment growth is due to racial incidents at mainstream universities like University of Missouri and University of Oklahoma.

Despite the HBCU renaissance, one can only feel empathy for those HBCUs that never experienced such a renaissance during its existence.

Therefore, concludes its series on “lost” HBCUs with a profile on Daniel Payne College in Birmingham, Ala.


  • According to, Daniel Payne College was founded in Birmingham, Ala. in 1889.

  • The school was forced to close its doors in 1977 after a tornado left over $1 million in damages.

  • The college was named after the sixth bishop of the African Methodist Episcopal (AME) Church.

  • Daniel Payne was also the first Black president of a college in the United States.

  • The school was originally located in Selma, Ala.  It relocated to Birmingham, Ala. in 1922.

  • Daniel Payne College was also known as Payne Institute, Payne University and Greater Payne University.

  • In 2010, the Birmingham City Council breathed new life into the abandoned college by creating the Daniel Payne Legacy Village.

  • The village will feature 179 homes for retired pastors according to WBMA.

  • The AME Church’s 9th district is behind the Daniel Payne Legacy Village project.  Old buildings will experience restoration, while retail shops and a retreat center will be built.  However, a 2011 tornado delayed plans for redevelopment.

This article was published on Friday 23 September, 2016.
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