Johnson C. Smith University (JCSU) has a rich history and is heralded as one of the best small colleges in the nation, serving more than 1,100 students and employing more than 240 full-time faculty members, administrators, and staff.
Freedmen’s College of North Carolina, JCSU’s original name, was founded in 1867 by the Rev. S.C. Alexander and the Rev. W. L. Miller. JCSU holds in its archives a sword belonging to Capt. Biddle, who was a member of the staff of Gen. George McCall of the Union Army. In 1867, Colonel William R. Myers, an officer in the Confederacy, gave eight acres of farmland on Beatties Ford Road west of downtown to Biddle University. It was later named Biddle Memorial Institute and then Biddle University after Capt. Henry J. Biddle, the late husband of benefactor Mary D. Biddle. In 1923, the institution was renamed Johnson C. Smith University to honor the generous donation of Jane Berry Smith in memory of her late husband.