Lest We Forget: Remembering where we came from, so we can know where to go!
Highlighting Historically Black Colleges & Universities
Harris-Stowe University is a historically black college in St. Louis, Missouri. It was also the first public teacher education institution west of the Mississippi River. Harris-Stowe was originally two separate institutions: Harris Teachers College and Stowe Teachers College, which were merged together in 1954 to form Harris Teachers College.
The older of the two, Harris Teachers College was created in 1857 by the St. Louis Board of Education to prepare white teachers for white elementary schools. Harris was named after William Torrey Harris who had been a Superintendent of Instruction in the St. Louis Public Schools and also a United States Commissioner of Education. In 1920, Harris Teachers College became an accredited four-year undergraduate college authorized to grant a Bachelor of Arts in Education Degree.
In 1890, the St. Louis Board of Education created the Sumner Normal School as an extension of Sumner High School in order to train black teachers for black elementary schools. In 1929, the institution was renamed Stowe Teachers College in honor of the abolitionist and novelist Harriet Beecher Stowe. In the wake of the desegregation of public schools, the two colleges were merged into one institution in 1954 and situated on the Harris Teachers College campus. In response to requests by alumni of Stowe and many in the St. Louis community, the St. Louis Board of Education in 1977 agreed to add the name of the former black institution to the school’s title and drop “Teachers.” Thus the institution became Harris-Stowe College. Later in 1979, the Missouri General Assembly enacted Senate Bill 703 that officially made the college a part of the State system of higher education and changed the name to Harris-Stowe State College.