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Berea College’s spiritual motto, “God has made of one blood all peoples of the earth,” has shaped the institution’s unique culture and programs since its founding in 1855. Founder John G. Fee, an ardent abolitionist, held fast to the radical vision of a college and a community committed to interracial education, to the Appalachian region, and to the equality of women and men hailing from all “nations and climes.” A significant distinction in the Berea mission is that rather than following the typical tuition-based model, the college developed a tuition-free work program so that its students could take advantage of a private liberal arts education otherwise unaffordable to them. Using primary sources, recent scholarship, and powerful photographs, Shannon H. Wilson charts the fascinating history and development of one of Kentucky’s most distinguished institutions of higher learning.

This treasure-trove of fascinating photos and compelling commentary tells the remarkable story of a college conceived in the struggle against slavery and tempered by arduous aspirations for the development of the Appalachian Region. -- Appalachian Heritage

In a series of black and white photos and Wilson's studied text, we follow the progressive growth of a school that took an early, and for the South, rare stand with its feet planted firmly in the belief that all were welcome regardless of race or gender. -- Chevy Chaser

[A] straightforward history of the college from its founding to the present... with very readable text and a photograph on essentially every page. The author lives up to the goal he states in his Introduction: to show the kind of college Berea is, what it is like to be a student there, and how it has influenced society. -- Kentucky Kaleidoscope

All who read Wilson's account of Berea College will acknowledge the school's uniqueness and appreciate its contribution to American life. -- Marion Lucas, Western Kentucky University

This impressive volume contains facts and photographs depicting campus life throughout Bereas long history. -- Modern Mountain

Wilson has captured both the written and graphic collective memory of this distinctive Kentucky institution that has strong national influence and renown. . . . Berea College is a book that has been needed for years. The photographs and elegant writing bring out the qualities that have made Berea College's story unique in its challenges and resourceful achievements. -- Register of the Kentucky Historical Society

Publication Date



The University Press of Kentucky

Place of Publication

Lexington, KY






Berea College, History


Higher Education

Berea College: An Illustrated History
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