About Wilberforce, Ohio
Discovering Wilberforce, Ohio
The Ohio Historical Society runs the National Afro-American Museum and Cultural Center, which is in Wilberforce. It displays exhibits and learning opportunities for the regional community. The Association of African American Museums, also located in Wilberforce and funded by the private university, works to build professional capacity among smaller museums.
Wilberforce has two historically black colleges, Wilberforce University (along with Payne Theological Seminary), and Central State University.
Wilberforce University was set up privately in 1856 as a joint project by the Methodist Episcopal Church of Cincinnati and African Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1863, the AME Church sold another property in order to buy the college after its temporary closing because of financial problems during the war. It is the first college to be owned and operated by African Americans. For many years, Bishop Daniel Payne, who led the founding and later purchase of the college, was its first president. A slew of prominent scholars have taught classes there.
Among those prominent professors was Charles Young, a West Point graduate and 19th-century U.S. Army officer who served with the Buffalo Soldiers in the West and later taught at Wilberforce. Born into slavery, Young became the highest-ranking African-American officer in the Army, a status that remained so until after World War I. His former residence, Youngsholm, has been designated as a National Historic Landmark and the Charles Young Buffalo Soldiers National Monument.
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