Virginia State University
Virginia State University was founded on March 6, 1882, when the legislature passed a bill to charter the Virginia Normal and Collegiate Institute. Delegate Alfred W. Harris, a Black attorney who represented Dinwiddie County in the General Assembly, sponsored the bill. A hostile lawsuit delayed opening day for nineteen months until October 1, 1883. In 1902, the legislature revised the charter act to curtail the collegiate program and to change the name to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute. In 1920, the land-grant program for Blacks was moved from a private school, Hampton Institute, where it had been since 1872, to Virginia Normal and Industrial Institute. In 1923, the college program was restored and the name changed, in 1930, to Virginia State College for Negroes. A two-year branch in Norfolk was added to the college in 1944; the Norfolk division became a four-year branch in 1956 and gained independence as Norfolk State College in 1969. The parent school was renamed Virginia State College in 1946 and later, Virginia State University in 1979.