Trevecca unveiled a state historical marker for Walden College on its campus during a special ceremony on Friday, September 30.
Before Trevecca moved to its current Murfreesboro Pike location in 1935, Walden College occupied the site. Founded in 1865 by the Methodist Episcopal Church, Walden College served as a first-generation institution whose goal was to provide education to freed slaves. The college was originally chartered as Central Tennessee College, and offered courses in teacher education, theology, science, agriculture and more.
The unveiling ceremony included speakers who had worked to establish the significance of the location and advocated for the marker with the Tennessee Historical Commission. Among them were Dr. Iris Gordon, Dr. Brodrick Thomas and former Trevecca student Tynaisia Rush, who founded Trevecca’s Walden Club in 2017 to continue the legacy of Walden College and foster community among Black students on campus.
“Walden represents who we are and who God made us to be,” Gordon said. “This is an opportunity to celebrate the important contributions Walden College has made.”
Gordon also recounted the story of a Walden College graduate who studied law and later fought and won a case in the Supreme Court.
Walden College operated on the grounds from 1922-1925 and eventually closed in 1929. It is forever remembered for its commitment to education for all people and its ability to create opportunity and transform lives.
“Because Walden was on this hill, our DNA is shared with those freedpeople who went from slaves to citizens to scholars,” Thomas said. “The history of African American culture is woven into Trevecca.”
Trevecca, established 1901 as a bible college, had been located in other parts of Nashville during its early history, including a portion of the current Ryman Auditorium property downtown.