Marshall and Dallas, Texas
An account of Bishop College appears in the 1910 summary of the status of Black Colleges called Era of Progress and Promise. Ancestry.com has a digital copy of the 1969 Tiger in its yearbook collection. The Handbook of Texas Online contains a history of the school. The Bishop College Alumni Association maintains a website from which the seal came.
Bishop College was founded by the Baptist Home Mission Society in Marshall, TX in 1881. Originally named South-Western Baptist College, it was renamed for Nathan Bishop of Boston, who had advocated a Baptist college for Negroes in Texas and had given money for its formation. During the 80 years in Marshall the school achieved accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools (a B grade in 1931, raised to an A grade in 1948). According to the Dallas News, Bishop became the largest Black college west of the Mississippi, famed for turning out Baptist ministers. In 1947 it opened a two-year branch in Dallas and began offering a master’s degree in education.
In 1961 Bishop College moved to a new campus in south Dallas. The 1969 Tiger shows a student body of around 800 students working toward bachelor’s degrees in 22 disciplines. In addition to the usual student activities of drama, debate, music and publications, Bishop College offered religious and service opportunities through the Ushers, the Christian Youth Club, and Circle K. Above all, Bishop had a strong Greek system with a Pan-Hellenic Council overseeing the activities of three fraternities and three sororities.
In the 1970’s the school experienced problems. The Handbook notes that the American Association of University Professors blacklisted Bishop for firing a white professor. Also Bishop faced increasing financial difficulties leading to charges of mismanagement. Finally in 1986 SACS revoked the school’s accreditation, meaning that the school could no longer receive federal funding. Bishop College filed for bankruptcy in 1987 and closed its doors in 1988.
Bricks and Mortar
At Marshall, Bishop College boasted of seven brick buildings by 1910. When the college moved in 1961, the property was valued at $140,000. It was ultimately purchased by a developer named Ed Korn, who razed the buildings in late 1962. Included in the group of razed buildings was Wyalucing, a 110-year-old Civil War mansion that had served as the Administration Building for Bishop College.
When the school moved to Dallas, it gained a completely new campus. The administration/classroom building, the gymnasium/auditorium, a fine arts building and dormitories awaited the students. Within the next few years the school added a student center, a stadium, a library, and a chapel. So that when the school closed, the campus was filled with buildings less than 30-years old. The entire campus now houses Paul Quinn University.
Team name: Tigers
Colors: Blue and White
Bishop College teams were part of the Southwestern Athletic Conference from 1920 until 1956 and then became members of the Gulf Coast Athletic Conference. Bishop played football through 1986 with various degrees of success. The 1925 team won the SWAC with a 5-1 record. The 1928 team was undefeated in six games. The 1959 and 1961 teams won GCAC championships. The 1968 team compiled an 8-2 record with victories over Texas Lutheran, Lane, Wiley, Prairie View, Fisk, Langston, and Arkansas AM&N. The Tigers lost to Jackson State and to Tennessee A&I.
Between 1964 and the close of the football program, no fewer than 12 future NFL players were a part of the Bishop College program. The most successful was Hall of Fame defensive back Emmitt Thomas of the Kansas City Chiefs. Wide receiver Tony Martin, who finished a 12-year NFL career with Atlanta in 2001 played part of his collegiate career at Bishop. Others included Harry Hooligan, Bobby Moton, Ike Thomas, Tony McGee, Leroy Howard, Bobby Brooks, Dennis Dewarden, Lewis Haynes, Will Ables, and Will Hill.
Bishop also fielded varsity teams in basketball and track.
Wyalucing in 1934 (Historic American Buildings Survey, E.O. Taylor, Photographer) <commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/File:Wyalucing.jpg> accessed 10-30-2017
1911 Bishop Tigers (National Collegiate Athletic Association Football Guide (https://archive.org/stream/officialnational09nati#page/264/mode/2up) accessed 10-30-2017