Memphis' Top Universities: LeMoyne–Owen College | Memphis Smoke and Vape Shop

807 Walker Ave, Memphis, TN 38126

LeMoyne – Owen College (LOC or simply “LeMoyne-Owen”) is a historically black private college affiliated to the United Church of Christ and based in Memphis , Tennessee. This resulted from the 1968 merger of historically black colleges and other schools founded during and after the American Civil War by northern Protestant missions.


LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School was established in 1862, when Lucinda Humphrey was sent by the American Missionary Association (AMA) to establish an elementary school for free blacks and runaway slaves in Camp Shiloh (Tennessee). This was one of over ten schools founded by the AMA, an integrated association headed by ministers of the black and white Church, Methodist, and Presbyterian.

The school was built shortly after Federal troops captured Memphis during the Civil War; they were located outside the city limits to the south at Camp Shiloh. The school was first known as Lincoln Chapel and moved from the south of the city to Memphis proper in 1863. It was destroyed during white race riots in 1866, which broke out after federal troops withdrew.

The school was reconstructed, and with 150 students and six teachers, it reopened in 1867. Francis Julius LeMoyne (1798-1879), a doctor from Washington, Pennsylvania, contributed $20,000 to the American Missionary Association in 1870, to establish a primary and secondary school for prospective students. LeMoyne, who was a prominent abolitionist, moved to the new school from his home in Pennsylvania. He donated a clock to the tower at the school. The school opened at 284 Orleans Street in a new building in 1871, and was called LeMoyne Normal and Commercial School.

The Memphis yellow fever outbreak started in 1873 and took a toll on many school workers.

The school experienced three decades of growth and development, under the leadership of the third principal, Andrew J. Steele.

In 1914 the school moved to its present location on Walker Avenue from Orleans Lane. The same year, Steele Hall was built, the first structure on the new campus. In 1924 LeMoyne became a college junior. It became a four-year college in 1930, after establishing a four-year program. Four years later the State of Tennessee chartered LeMoyne College. In 1979 Steele Hall was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and in 2005 the main campus of the college was listed on the National Register.

In 1947, when the Tennessee Baptist Missionary and Educational Convention purchased property for that purpose on Vance Avenue, Owen College was founded as a junior college After the facility was built S. In 1954 A. Owen Junior College opened there.

LeMoyne – Owen College was founded by the LeMoyne College and Owen College combining in 1968, both private, historically black, church-affiliated colleges.

Owing to a lack of financial capital, LeMoyne-Owen suffered from management and accreditation problems during 2007. For two years the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools has placed the college on probation. By promising $3 million in public funds to be applied to other large donations from the United Negro College Fund, Cummins, radio host Tom Joyner and the United Church of Christ, the City of Memphis assured the college would open for the Fall 2007 semester.

The promise to donate, which was accepted by the City Council, stirred up controversy. Leaders of the town council justified their actions as contributing to the city and its citizens. Johnnie B. Watson, president of the college said the college has reaffirmed its accreditation. In 2014, it had raised its endowment to USD 20 million.

LeMoyne-Owen College received the biggest donation in its history in July 2020. A $40 million grant from the Greater Memphis Community Foundation quadrupled the endowment for the institution. The President of LeMoyne-Owen called the donation “transformative” for what the college does and will do. The Community Foundation will offer $2 million per annum until it hits $40 million.

This top school is located in beautiful Memphis, Tennessee, along with these other educational institutions you shouldn’t miss: 

  • Baptist College of Health Sciences
  • Belhaven University
  • Cecil C. Humphreys School of Law
  • Christian Brothers University
  • Harding School of Theology
  • Memphis College of Art 
  • Memphis Theological Seminary
  • University of Memphis

These amazing universities are located just down the street from our location at South Third Street across from The Southgate Shopping Center. Stop by for a visit anytime!

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