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Edward Waters College is recognized as the oldest of four colleges formed during Reconstruction to provide needed educational opportunities and teacher training for Florida’s African American citizens recently emancipated from slavery.
In addition, Edward Waters College, along with Florida Memorial College and Bethune-Cookman College, reflected the leadership of church and church organizations that played significant roles in creating and supporting higher educational opportunities for African-Americans in Florida. Although originating in the late
1860’s under different names and locations, Edward Waters College acquired its current name in 1891. At that time located in a school building owned by Mount Zion A.M.E. Church in Downtown Jacksonville, the trustees of the college purchased the first parcels of the current site along Kings Road in 1904 with its first building, Salter Hall, built in 1908.