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About Claflin University:
Claflin University, founded in 1869, was named in honor of Lee Claflin, a prominent Methodist layman of Boston, and his son William Claflin, the governor of Massachusetts. Ardent abolitionists, these men harbored
a great concern for higher education and the uplift of African-Americans.
Just one year earlier in July 1868, the Rev. Timothy Willard Lewis, the first missionary sent by the Methodist Church to the emancipated people of South Carolina, and Dr. Alonzo Webster, a prominent Methodist minister and teacher at the Baker Theological Institute in Charleston, South Carolina, had acquired the property of the old Orangeburg Female Institute for $5,000. With the substantial financial support of Lee and William Claflin,
Lewis and Webster secured the foundation of what would become Claflin University. In the following months, a Board of Trustees was named, a charter was secured in December 1869, and Claflin University was opened with the promise to “make Claflin University, by the blessing of God and the aid of our friends, worthy of the patronage of all classes and an honor
to the state.”