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Alcorn State University, located near Lorman, Mississippi, United States, is a public land grant university. It was founded in 1871 as the nation's first state-supported higher education institution for African American students.
Alcorn State University was founded on the site originally occupied by the Oakland College, a school established by the Presbyterian Church. Oakland College closed its doors at the beginning of the Civil War so that its students could answer the call to arms. Upon failing to reopen at the end of the war, the property was sold to the state of Mississippi and renamed Alcorn University in honor of James L. Alcorn in 1871, then governor of the state of Mississippi.
The college opened with eight faculty members and 179 students in three buildings on a 225 acre (0.9 km²) campus.
Hiram R. Revels resigned his seat in the United States Senate to become Alcorn's first president. The state legislature provided $50,000 in cash for ten successive years for the establishment and overall operations of the college. The state also granted Alcorn three-fifths of the proceeds earned from the sale of thirty thousand acres (120 km²) of land scrip for agricultural colleges. The land was sold for $188,928 with Alcorn receiving a share of $113,400. This money was to be used solely for the agricultural and mechanical components of the college. From its beginning, Alcorn State University was a land-grant college.