Richmond Theological Institute

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Richmond Theological Seminary (RTS) was a higher education institution in Richmond, Virginia, serving former slaves after the American Civil War. It had its beginnings in November 1865 when the American Baptist Home Mission Society (ABHMS) sponsored Joseph Getchell Binney (formerly of Columbian College in Washington, DC, and later of Karen Theological Seminary in Rangoon, Burma) a short-lived class in Richmond, VA for theological training of African-Americans.[1]

Around the same time, the National Theological Institute of Washington, DC was forming schools for ministerial training of freedmen in Washington and Augusta, GA. They sponsored Nathaniel Colver to form a school in Richmond, VA, which commenced in Lumpkin's jail, formerly a slave trading facility, in late 1867.[2] Robert Ryland was hired as an instructor the first year. Both Dr. Colver and Dr. Ryland resigned after one year, and in 1868, Charles Henry Corey was transferred from the Augusta Institute (which was later to become Morehouse College) and commenced classes in October. At the recommendation of Dr. Ryland, a female instructor was hired at half the pay he had received. The school took the name Colver Institute in 1869.[3]

In 1876 the school was incorporated as the Richmond Institute only to reincorporated as the Richmond Theological Seminary in 1886 after it became the central college for advanced theological training of Black Baptist ministers in the South.

In 1870, the National Theological Institute was absorbed by the ABHMS, which carried on its work in Augusta and Richmond, and merged operations in Washington into its Wayland Seminary. Charles Corey headed the RTS for 30 years. In the 1890s, Corey was instrumental in the merging of the Richmond Theological Seminary with the Wayland Seminary to form Virginia Union University. In 1895, Corey wrote a history of the school. The L. Douglas Wilder Library and Learning Resource Center holds the records of the Richmond Theological Seminary.[3]



  1. ^ Grundman, Adolph (Jan 1978). "Northern Baptists and the Founding of Virginia Union University: The Perils of Paternalism". The Journal of Negro History. 63 (1).
  2. ^ Hylton, Raymond (2014). Virginia Union University. Charleston, South Carolina: Arcadia Publishing.
  3. ^ a b "Virginia Union University | Richmond Theological Seminary". Archived from the original on 2016-03-21. Retrieved 2016-08-17.