Thursday, June 2, 2016

from THE EDITOR Dwight Floyd: Summation of Life & Leadership of FAMU's Past Presidents, Series Part 4: J.R.E. Lee [1924-1944]

TALLAHASSEE, Florida -- J.R.E. Lee was born in 1864 to John and Mary Lee in Sequin, Texas, prior to the end of the Civil War. John and Mary pinned their hopes on J.R.E getting a strong education. To that end he attended elementary school in Sequin and as a young adult became broadly educated. Lee was a brilliant student. At the age of 19 he entered Bishop College in Marshall, Texas as a second year student.

Two years later he was appointed Student Assistant to the Academic Faculty. In 1889 he became only the third person in the college’s 10-year history to receive an A.B. degree, graduating with high honors. Gaining valuable experience that would one day help him in his future role at FAMC, Lee taught for two years at a public school and thereafter was appointed Dean of Men and Professor of Latin and Mathematics at Bishop College.

In 1901 he accepted a teaching position at Tuskegee Institute and after serving two years he became the Professor of Mathematics at Benedict College. In 1805 he returned to Tuskegee and for the next ten years served as the Director of the Academic Department. From 1915 to 1921 he was principal of Lincoln High School in Kansas, City, Missouri. His final stop before coming to FAMC was as Extension Secretary of the National Urban League, a position he held from 1921 to 1924.

Lee was appointed to FAMC at the recommendation of Jackson T. Davis, Secretary of the General Education Board, a philanthropic organization established by John D. Rockefeller, Sr. Davis himself was a reputable individual who dedicated his life to the education and betterment of Africans in the African content and African Americans. He helped steer the Rockefeller Foundation and the Jeanes Foundation, both of which contributed millions toward educating blacks. He also helped to establish the United Negro College Fund.


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