Tennessee State University Improvements – Nashville TN


Tennessee State University was established in 1909 as Tennessee Agricultural and Industrial State College, a land-grant college.  It is the only state-funded historically Black college or university in Tennessee. The New Deal helped a great deal to  build up the Tennessee A & I College campus in the 1930s.

Early in 1935, the college announced the opening of six new buildings on campus: Practice Hall, Administration and Health, Men’s Hall (East), Hale Hall, Wilson Hall, and Science Hall (Harned). These were almost certainly funded by the New Deal’s Public Works Administration (PWA).  It is hard to imagine the college having the money  for such a flock of new buildings in the midst of the Great Depression, and the PWA under Secretary of Interior Harold Ickes, was very favorable toward investing in educational facilities for African Americans (e.g., Pearl High School in Nashville and Howard University in Washington D.C.).  Further confirmation is needed on this.  

In late 1935, the Works Progress Administration (WPA) allocated $148,183 for construction projects to expand A&I College facilities. These included two residences, 20 tennis courts, a field house, a football stadium, baseball bleachers, a track field, a stone fence, a stable and tool house, and lake equipment.


Project Details

Federal Cost Local Cost Total Cost Project #'s

Source notes

Great Moments in Tennessee State University History. (n. d.) Centennial Celebration, Tennessee State University. http://library3.tnstate.edu/library/Centennial/past.htm

Van West, C. (2001) Tennessee’s New Deal Landscape: A Guidebook. Knoxville: University of Tennessee Press.


Project originally submitted by Susan C. Allen on December 17, 2014.
Additional contributions by Richard Walker.

We welcome contributions of additional information on any New Deal project site.


Location Info

3500 John Merritt Blvd.
Nashville, TN 37209

Coordinates: 36.166192, -86.829481

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