Booker T. Washington Junior College

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Booker T. Washington Junior College, the first and longest-lasting junior college for African Americans in Florida, was established by the Escambia County school board in 1949. Previously, the only higher education available in Florida to African Americans was at Bethune-Cookman College, Edward Waters College, and Florida A&M University, all historically black.

The College, named for the famous black intellectual Booker T. Washington, shared facilities and administrator with Booker T. Washington High School, in Pensacola, Florida. Its founding and only president and dean, and principal of the high school, was Garrett T. Wiggins, the only educator in northwest Florida with an earned doctorate,[1] described as "the smartest man in Escambia County".[2] Its first class, with 23 students, graduated in 1951.[3] At its peak the college enrolled 361 students. In 1965, in response to the pressures for integration, Washington Junior College was closed. It is often said that the college was merged with Pensacola Junior College (now Pensacola State College),[4] but like Roosevelt Junior College and other Florida black junior colleges, it is more accurate to say it was closed. None of the faculty got similarly-paying jobs,[5] and black student enrollment did not transfer en masse to PJC, where students found, at best, an indifferent reception.[6]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Kevin M. McCarthy, African American Sites in Florida, Pineapple Press, 2007, ISBN 1561643858, p. 67,, retrieved August 11, 2015.
  2. ^ Kenneth D. Yglesias, "The Magnificent Twelve: Florida's Black Junior Colleges", Diverse Issues In Higher Education", June 23, 2007,[permanent dead link], consulted August 11, 2015.
  3. ^, consulted August 11, 2015.
  4. ^ "College History",, consulted August 11, 2015.
  5. ^ Arden Moore, "Book Examines Florida's Forgotten Black Junior Colleges," Sun-Sentinel, September 10, 1994,, retrieved August 10, 2015.
  6. ^ McCarthy, p. 67.

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