The 1890 Land-Grant Universities are ladders to opportunity, especially for those students with limited access to education. We create a campus climate that fosters student satisfaction and a sense of community, leverage diversity to enrich the learning environment and contribute to the strength of the nation's workforce that recognizes a diversity of perspectives and a richness of varied talents and ideas.
All of the 1890 universities:
- Share a common thread — the distinction of having teaching, research and extension programs of the highest quality in the food, agricultural and related sciences.
- Integrate expert research with community-based Extension initiatives.
- Are proud USDA partners. As a part of our mandate as land-grant universities, the 1890s receive federal funding annually from USDA/NIFA to engage in programs that are stakeholder driven and respond to emerging issues related to food and agricultural sciences.
The 1890s will continue to lead the collaborative vision of a better world, address the challenges of our time and focus our work on lifelong learning opportunities for all. We fervently commit to improve the socioeconomic status of the impoverished and help to transform lives at the local, regional, national and global levels.
Justin Smith Morrill
In 1862, the First Morrill Act was passed, establishing at least one college in every state "accessible to all, but especially to the sons of toil." This Act was introduced by Vermont Congressman (and later Senator) Justin Morrill, known as the Father of the Land-Grant Institutions. A magnanimous leader, Morrill's vision was about education for all social classes and a shift from predominantly classical studies to applied studies — preparing students for the real world and advancing the nation by providing opportunity to educate all classes of its citizenry.
Not only was Morrill's vision one of true democracy in higher education, he was also an abolitionist. In 1865, about 4 million hardworking, but primarily illiterate, blacks were freed from slavery. According to Justin Morrill:
"They are members of the American family, and their advancement concerns us all."
Thus, he introduced The Second Morrill Act of 1890 which included this population group. This act included the stipulation that African Americans were to be included in the U.S. Land-Grant University higher education system without discrimination.
The 17 southern and border states refused to admit blacks to their institutions. Therefore, in the legislation, a provision was made for these states to found a second land-grant institution specifically for African Americans, which became known as the Negro Land-Grant Institutions and today as the 1890 Land-Grant Universities and Tuskegee University (the 1890s).