After the Civil War and the abolishment of slavery, newly freed people struggled to adjust to the new world. In West Virginia, the efforts of a local reverend led to the establishment of Storer College, which aimed to train adequate African-American educators to supply the needs of freedmen.
Rev. Nathan Cook Brackett opened a Freewill Baptist primary school in the Camp Hill region of Harper’s Ferry, West Va. The school was part of Rev. Brackett’s grander plan to open a series of schools for freedmen and give them the opportunity to integrate properly into society.
Brackett’s actions attracted the attention of Maine philanthropist John Storer, who donated $10,000 for Brackett to open a school in the Deep South. Storer’s main stipulation for the school was that it would be open to all races and genders.
On October 2, 1867, the “Storer Normal School” was born at the Lockwood House. What began as a one-room school for freedmen blossomed into a four-year college where anyone who could attend would be able to earn a degree. When the federal government granted Storer seven acres of land in 1869, the school’s class numbers grew.