Talladega College began in 1865 when William Savery and Thomas Tarrant, two former slaves in Talladega, met at a convention of new freedmen in Mobile, Alabama and committed to educate Black children. Savery and Tarrant, aided by General Wager Swayne of the Freedmen´s Bureau, constructed a one-room school using lumber salvaged from a carpenter´s shop. The school soon needed to move to a larger facility.
A nearby Baptist Academy was about to be sold. This structure was built in 1852-53 with the help of slaves -- including Savery and Tarrant, who plead with General Swayne for its purchase. General Swayne then persuaded the American Missionary Association to buy the building and 20 acres of land around it for $23,000. Hence the academy building was renamed Swayne School when it opened in 1867 with 140 pupils. Note the sweet arc of justice of a building constructed with slave labor for white students becoming the home of Alabama´s first Black college.
In 1869, Swayne School was issued a charter as Talladega College by the Judge of Probate of Talladega County. Swayne Hall has remained in service as the symbol and spirit of the beginning of the College.
Talladega College has become one of the finest liberal arts schools in the country. For a school its size (nearly 1000 students), more graduates pursue advanced degrees than those of any other institution, one in 12, versus the national average of one in 25.
Talladega is also represented by one of the largest proportionate shares of Fortune 1000 CEOs in the country. Ten of graduates occupy seats in state houses across the country. Five of graduates are sitting or emeriti college and university presidents. It has the most impressive record of any institution of any size in producing scientists and engineers and the vast majority earn advanced degrees. Conseuqnetly, many Talladega graduates are serving in the highest ranks of religious, corporate and political echelons around the globe.
Some of the student clubs at Talladega College are: Biology Club, Business/Economics Club, Mathematics Club, Chemistry Club, Pre-Law Society, Society of Physics Scholars, Spanish Club, Psychology Club, Social Work Club, Arna Bontempts Historical Society, English Majors Association, Student Activities Council, and School Newspaper Staff. Black Fraternities and Sororities have existed at Talladega College since 1921.
Basketball, golf and football teams compete in the National Association of Inter collegiate Athletics (NAIA) and the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. The intramural program is coordinated by the Department of Intercollegiate Athletics in conjunction with the Office of Student Activities and offers activities which provide students with the opportunity to participate in organized individual and team sports.
The college is restoring its historic treasures: Swayne Hall, Foster Hall, DeForest Chapel, Savery Library and the visually stunning Amistad Murals.
ADDRESS: 627 West Battle Street, Talladega, AL