Read more Chattanooga History Columns
- Gaston: Paul John Kruesi was Edison's right-hand man
- Robbins: The old Richardson's house and the Civil War
- Gaston: James Williams was a man of the world
- Raney: Mason Evans, the 'Wild Man of the Chilhowee'
- Gaston: The legacy of Adolph Ochs endures
- Martin: Ed Johnson said, 'I have a changed heart,' the day before his lynching in Chattanooga on 1906
- Thomas: The inventiveness of Judge Michael M. Allison
- Moore: Chattanooga's first Chinese community
- Summers, Robbins: Chattanooga's Tuskegee Airman - Joseph C. White
- McCallie: The Civil Rights Act of 1964 says so!
- Gaston: John McCline's Civil War - from slave to D.C. parade
- Raney: Exploring Chattanooga businesses in the Green Book
- Elliott: Remembering the Freedmen's Bureau in Chattanooga
- Gaston: Nancy Ward was a beloved, respected Tennessean
- Martin: Prohibition - the noble experiment
- Elliott: 'A shameful, disgraceful deed': The destruction of the Sewanee cornerstone
- Gaston: Robert Cravens was ironmaster, Chattanooga area's first commuter
- Robbins: Dr. T.H. McCallie's Christmas 1863
- Robbins: Journalist writes of a trip to Missionary Ridge in 1896
- Summers, Robbins: Mine 21 disaster - gone but not forgotten
- Elliott: Collegedale incorporates to avoid Sunday 'blue laws'
- Gaston: 'Marse Henry' Watterson's journalism fame began in Chattanooga
- Robbins: Orchard Knob battle recalled in 1895
- Elliott: Chattanoogans joined in an 'orgy of joy and gladness' on Armistice Day, 1918
- Thomas: Noted service, speakers are marks of Rotary Club of Chattanooga since 1914
- Summers and Robbins: Remembering noted Tennessee author North Callahan
- Raney: 'I auto cry, I auto laugh, I auto sign my autograph'
- Gaston: Sequoyah's alphabet enriched Cherokees
- Robbins: A look at Sam Divine's life during the Civil War
- Robbins: Memories of a Confederate nurse
- Robbins: More notes from Bradford Torrey's 1895 visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Robbins: Journalist in 1895 details visit to Chickamauga Battlefield
- Elliott: Telephone exchange firebombing was distraction for grocery store robbery
- Gaston: Worcester brought Christ's message to Cherokee at Brainerd Mission
- Robbins: 1896 travel diary: 'A Week on Walden's Ridge'
- Gaston: Elizabeth Strayhorn, WAC Commandant at Fort Oglethorpe
- Robbins: The history of the Friends of Moccasin Bend National Park
- Moore: Do you own a Sears Roebuck home?
- Summers and Robbins: Camp Nathan Bedford Forrest in World War II
- Gaston: Hiram Sanborn Chamberlain remembered
- Elliott: Daisy the center of tile, ceramic manufacturing in Hamilton County
- Gaston: FDR inaugurates the Chickamauga Dam
- Summers, Robbins: Interned WWII Germans had it easy at Camp Crossville
- Elliott: A war correspondent on Lookout Mountain
- Gaston: Chickamaugas finally bury hatchet in Tennessee Valley
- Gaston: Chickamaugas in Chattanooga
- Robbins: The history of the Riverbend festival
- Raney: Sadie Watson, the first woman elected in Hamilton County government
- Moore: Remembering Chattanooga's Hawkinsville community
- Elliott: Welsh coal miners transformed Soddy after the Civil War
- Gaston: Chattanooga's best-kept secret
- Elliott: Cabell Breckinridge loses his horse
- Raney: Martin Fleming is the people's judge
- Gaston: The amazing career of Francis Lynde
- Martin: Hamilton County's Name Sake: Alexander Hamilton
- Summers, Robbins: The crosses at Sewanee
- Bledsoe: The fiery truce at Kennesaw Mountain
- Moore: Talented architect's life cut short by tragedy
- Rydell: Chattanooga's place in soccer history
- Robbins: Tennessee Coal, member of the First Dow Jones Industrial Average
- Raney: In the barber chair
- Lanier: Becoming the Boyce Station Neighborhood Association
- McCallie: John P. Franklin: Living history among us
- Barr: Chattanooga's first railroad: The Underground Railroad
- Summers, Robbins: Charles Bartlett was a Pulitzer Prize winner, Kennedy confidant
- Rainey: 'We have seen it'
- Elliott: Feinting and fighting at Running Water Creek and Johnson's Crook
- Gaston: The Spring Frog Cabin at Audubon Acres
- Raney: Wauhatchie Pike was moonshine motorway
- Robbins: Oakmont was home of venerable Williams clan
- Summers and Robbins: Rebirth of the Mountain Goat Line
- Elliott: Bad investments led to Soddy Bank failure in 1930
- Summers and Robbins: Pearl Harbor attack left football behind
- Gaston: Jolly’s Island namesake had long ties with Sam Houston
- Return Jonathan Meigs, Indian Agent
- Moore: Did you know about St. Elmo's other two cemeteries?
- Summers: Orme - Marion County's almost lost community
- Davis: Spooky revival at Sharp Mountain in 1873
- Robbins: The story of Longholm
- Raney: Women labored to help the U.S. win World War I
- Even in the city, the 'wheel' changed everything
- Murray: Confederate dilemma after Chickamauga
- J.B. Collins — Newsman extraordinaire
- Robbins: The Story of the Lyndhurst Mansion
- Chattanooga artist and wife lost on the Lusitania
- Chattanooga History Column: Battelle, Alabama and the Battelle Institute
- John Ross, a founder of Chattanooga
- Hamilton County casualties in World War I
- Chattanooga Power Couple
- 'Somewhere in France'
- The Ray Moss family
- Battery B from Chattanooga
- Ulysses S. Grant, Clark B. Lagow, and the Chattanooga Bender
- Songbirds Museum Timeline
- Hamilton County World War 1 roster
- The Soddy Girl and the Memphis Belle
- Blues icon Bessie Smith was the Empress of Soul
- Women's Army Corps at Chickamauga
- Emma Bell Miles' life at the top of the 'W'
- The Tivoli Wurlitzer is one of Chattanooga's priceless assets
- Chattanooga in struggle for freedom during Civil War
- October 1918, Chattanooga paralyzed by Spanish flu epidemic
- Eli Lilly and the Ditch of Death
- One hundred years ago, Chattanooga goes to war
- The legacy of Anna Safley Houston
- Harriet Whiteside was ahead of her time
- Southern Adventist University
- Chattanooga native's writings aided Civil Rights movement
- Zion College, Chattanooga's only African American College
- The North Shore's hidden past
- Mayme Martin -- Businesswoman and community leader
- Thomas Sim's epic struggle for freedom
- Top of Cameron Hill was price of rerouting interstate
- Cameron Hill has rich history
- Temperance movement included Harriman university
- The sweetest music this side of Heaven
- Conquistadors at Chattanooga
- Chattanooga and the 'General'
- Chattanooga's first Thanksgiving, 1863
- Chattanooga's greatest flood caught city unaware
- Opening the Cracker Line
- European trip in 1900 enlightens Sophia Scholze Long
- Sophia Scholze Long spoke out when others were silent
- Little South Pittsburg and its big silent movie stars
- Lot attendant recalls hottest job in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's Forest Hills is final resting place for known, unknown
- Burritt College -- Pioneer of the Cumberlands
- Chattanooga's nicknames trace city's evolution
- The 25th annual meeting of the Tennessee Press Association
- Clemons Brothers Furniture Store
- The Short Life of the USS Chattanooga
- Ellen Jarnagin McCallie lived a truly remarkable life
- Dr. Jonathan Bachman was a revered city father
- Second guessing the Confederate failure on Missionary Ridge
- Nancy Kefauver, ambassador for the arts
- William Gibbs McAdoo kept his Southern roots
- Chattanooga's Secretary of the Treasury
- Howard Baker remembered as a statesman/photographer who snapped history
- Tivoli's last picture show
- The history of one of Chattanooga's oldest businesses
- Chattanooga's roller derby skaters
- Myths of Coca-Cola in Chattanooga
- Chattanooga's neighborhood grocery stores
- The tale of the Scottsboro Boys
- The people's history of Chattanooga
- Howard School is Chattanooga's reminder of Reconstruction
- Elevator operator, painter, mystery man: meet Rice Carothers
- Raulston Schoolfield made enemies amid his rise to power
- Website lets users peer into Chattanooga's past
- The flood of 1917
- Chattanooga's 'wickedest woman' buried at Forest Hills
- History of Cummings Highway
Before 1947, African-Americans in Chattanooga seeking education after high school had to leave the city. The closest black colleges were in Rogersville, Knoxville and Morristown, Tenn. But in 1947, Dr. Lee Roberson of Highland Park Baptist Church, with other ministers, opened the Zion Institute.
Initially, Zion trained those preparing to be ministers and church workers. Classes included Bible, history, music, English, homiletics (the art of writing sermons), hermeneutics (knowledge of Bible interpretations), flannel art, Sunday school lessons and missions. Students attended its night classes at the New Monumental Baptist Church on East Eighth Street.
By December 1949, Zion, with seven enrolled in college and 10 in seminary, had completed its first half semester. The institute was chartered that year as a two-year junior college and a three-year theological seminary. In 1952, the college added several departments, including commerce. A year later, Horace Traylor became the college's first graduate.
The Chattanooga Times on Aug. 30, 1959, noted that Zion's new president, Dr. Horace Jerome Traylor, expressed hope for the college's future and its usefulness in "producing men and women of strong faith, right convictions and courage. Men and women with poise and vision, who will be living witnesses of the gospel in their various occupations."
The college was a nonsectarian liberal arts institution offering bachelor's of arts and bachelor's of science degrees with courses in English, history, secretarial science, business administration and Christian education. However, Zion had been unable to receive accreditation and had returned to junior college status in 1958.
The faculty and its students met in three buildings on Ninth Street and hoped to move to a new plant near Howard High School. Setbacks on the way included a 1962 fire that destroyed the main building. The community replaced the demolished library books, and a new building in the same area was secured.
Zion College changed its name to Chattanooga City College in 1964 and had 100 students registered on Dec. 12, 1965, when the dedication of the new building took place.
The private, African-American junior college offered courses for students wishing to transfer to a four-year school as well as college-level courses for those who wanted immediate employment after graduation.
Zion offered the associate arts degree and associate science degree in addition to a certificate in secretarial science. With approved accreditation from the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools, veterans were able to attend Chattanooga City College using the GI Bill.
In 1965, the college welcomed the fraternity Epsilon Theta Sigma. In August 1966, The Chattanooga Times related that Otis Boddy, the academic dean, saw the potential for City College to become a four-year center of learning.
Before the college could pursue that goal, its faculty received news of the private University of Chattanooga merging into the University of Tennessee system. Realizing that combination would affect the small Chattanooga City College, black leaders persuaded the state education board to agree to a merger of City College with the new University of Tennessee at Chattanooga.
In June 1969, City College graduated its last class of 24 members and on July 1 became part of the new university. The Chattanooga Times, on June 2, 1960, reported that graduation speaker Dr. John Codwell told the students that black Americans needed to "grasp the many opportunities available [and that is] best done through education."
One of the last honorees of Chattanooga City College was Wilma Saddler, the first person to graduate from its commerce department with a certificate of secretarial science. Saddler later joined the faculty, teaching typing, shorthand and assisting with the night school while she continued studies at the University of Chattanooga.
She later worked as secretary for Howard School for 12 years. At the time of her honor in 1969, she was operations secretary of the Educational Evaluation Center of Chattanooga Public Schools.
Without the opportunity presented by Zion College, Saddler and several other black students would have had to seek education outside Chattanooga.
Suzette Raney is a librarian and archivist at the Chattanooga Public Library. For information on Zion or other African-American institutions, visit the Library's Local History Department at the downtown branch or call 423-643-7725. For more, visit Chattahistorical assoc.org.