"The Father of Higher Education for African-American in Arkansas"

Share on Facebook
Share on Twitter
Print

By Historical Society

The University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (UAPB) was founded in 1875 as Branch Normal College by Joseph Carter Corbin. Corbin was the oldest of twelve children born to William and Susan Corbin, freed slaves. Corbin had a classical education and went on to become a teacher in Kentucky.  He then attended Ohio University at Athens and graduated with a bachelor's degree in art in 1853 and a master's degree in art in 1856.

Corbin worked as a journalist in the 1860s, including during the Civil War, as an editor and publisher of The Colored Citizen in Cincinnati. From there, he went on to become a reporter for the Arkansas Daily Republican and was the Little Rock Post Office chief clerk. He was elected as the first African American superintendent of public education in Arkansas and served in this capacity from 1873 to 1875, during reconstruction of the South. As the state superintendent he urged the legislature to approve the creation of Branch Normal College.

In 1875, at the request of the governor, Corbin worked to build, literally from the ground up, Branch Normal College. He was the only teacher and principal there, teaching mathematics and languages, and he was able to speak and read Greek, Latin, German, French, Spanish, Italian, Hebrew and Danish. He also taught students to play piano, organ and flute. 

He moved with his wife to the south side of Chicago on August 3, 1909 and purchased a funeral plot at Forest Home Cemetery for $125. His death in 1911 is recorded in Pine Bluff, but his internment was a mystery for many years. 

Gladys Turner, a social worker and graduate of UAPB, took it upon herself to research and find where "The Father of Higher Education for African-American in Arkansas" Corbin's final resting place was. It is here, in Forest Home Cemetery, that Corbin rests with his wife and daughters.

 

Love the Review?

Become our partner in independent community journalism

Thanks for turning to Forest Park Review and ForestParkReview.com. We love our thousands of digital-only readers. Now though we're asking you to partner up in paying for our reporters and photographers who report this news. It had to happen, right?

On the plus side, we're giving you a simple way, and a better reason, to join in. We're now a non-profit -- Growing Community Media -- so your donation is tax deductible. And signing up for a monthly donation, or making a one-time donation, is fast and easy.

No threats from us. The news will be here. No paywalls or article countdowns. We're counting on an exquisite mix of civic enlightenment and mild shaming. Sort of like public radio.

Claim your bragging rights. Become a digital member.

Donate Now

Reader Comments

No Comments - Add Your Comment

Note: This page requires you to login with Facebook to comment.

Comment Policy

Facebook Connect

Community Guide 2019 - 2020

To view the full print edition of the Forest Park Review 2019 - 2020 Community Guide, please click here.

Quick Links

Sign-up to get the latest news updates for Forest Park.


            
SubscribeClassified
MultimediaContact us
Submit Letter To The Editor
Place a Classified Ad

Classified Ad

Latest Comments