The University of Maryland, College Park had the goal of establishing a “historically significant international public research university with a national purpose and a global impact” for its students. However, success does not come with its failures and mistakes. It was no secret that the founding of the Maryland Agricultural College which was established in 1856 had some shared relationship with slavery, a topic of discussion that is still difficult to discuss today.
Going through the timeline of events, the Maryland Agricultural College opened its doors in 1856, a decade later slavery was abolished, and it was not until 1950 that the first African American graduate student was admitted into the University of Maryland, and not until 1951 that the first African American undergraduate was admitted.
Although prejudice and stereotypes may still persist in society today, University of Maryland, College Park has become a diverse community with a shared appreciation for higher education and research in every educational perspective. Frederick Douglass stands on our campus today because he represents America’s quest for freedom, liberty and the rights of all people in democracy. There are two quotes that stand out to me and resonate with the university’s values. As Douglass says, “in a composite nation like ours, there should be no rich, no poor, no high, no low, no white, no black, but common country, common citizenship, equal rights and a common destiny” and “education means emancipation … it means light and liberty. It means uplifting of the soul of man into the glorious light of truth, the light only by which men can be free. To deny education to any people is one of the greatest crime against human nature.”
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