April 7, 1867
On April 7, 1867, the Catawba Presbytery met in the Presbyterian Church in Charlotte. Led by the Rev. Samuel C. Alexander (shown at left ) and the Rev. Willis L. Miller (shown right), the presbytery approved creation of a college for African-Americans with these two ministers as teachers. Mrs. Mary D. Biddle of Philadelphia, PA, pledged $1,400 to the school. In appreciation of this first contribution, the newly established school was named after her late husband, Major Henry Biddle. From 1867 to 1876, the school was named Biddle Memorial Institute and chartered by the state legislature. The charter of the school was amended on March 1, 1923, by the Legislature of the State of North Carolina to be renamed Johnson C. Smith University.