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Leland College: Remembering Lost HBCUs

by Shane Thomas


Legendary Grambling State football coach Eddie Robinson was arguably Leland College’s most famous alum (Photo Credit: AP Photo).


Remembering Lost HBCUs: Leland College

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), along with the church, have always represented the backbone of the Black community.

Although misinformed people mistakenly call HBCUs racist for the use of the word Black, HBCUs came into existence because Black people could not attend historically White colleges because of segregation.

Shout out to journalist Roland Martin for educating talk show host Wendy Williams on the genesis of HBCUs.

But for every Lincoln University there is a Leland College, an HBCU that did not quite last into perpetuity.

However at, it is a mission to not forget those who laid the foundation for those who came after.

Therefore, highlights Leland College in the ongoing series on lost HBCUs.


  • Holbrook Chamberlain founded Leland College in New Orleans in partnership with the American Baptist Home Mission Society.
  • The United States government, via the Freedman’s Bureau, gave $17,500 towards the first building on campus.
  • The school was founded in 1870.  By 1900, Leland College had over 700 students at five locations.  By 1910, the school had 1,975 students at 10 locations.
  • Leland had a predominantly Black student body, but it was open to students of all colors.  The faculty was predominantly White.
  • The school was set up to educate future teachers, ministers and mechanics.
  • After a 1915 hurricane, the New Orleans campus was destroyed beyond repair.  When White Alexandria, La. residents protested the school’s relocation, Leland settled on Baker, La., a suburb of Baton Rouge, La.
  • Leland remained in Baker, La. from 1923 until 1960, when the school closed.
  • The school nickname was the Bulldogs and the school colors were blue and gold.
  • The most famous Leland College alum was Grambling State’s iconic football coach, Eddie Robinson.

This article was published on Friday 02 September, 2016.
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