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[graphic] Xavier University Main Buidling, Convent and Library
Xavier University Main Building
Photo courtesy of Xavier University, by photographer Irving Johnson

Located in New Orleans, Louisiana, Xavier University provided a quality education to thousands of African Americans, principally from New Orleans and elsewhere in Louisiana, who upon graduation entered the New Orleans professional community. Founded in 1915, Xavier University was originally housed at the former Southern University building and did not become a full-fledged liberal arts college until 1925. Xavier's other academic strength, pharmacology, emerged by the 1940s. Since 1927, the Xavier University College of Pharmacy has produced one-quarter of all black pharmacists in the nation. Xavier is the only black Catholic university in the United States, and the only historically black college to have its founder, Katherine Drexel, canonized.

Xavier Convent (above) and Library (below)
Photos courtesy of Xavier University, by photographer Irving Johnson
Eventually outgrowing its space in the old Southern University building, Mother Katherine purchased land in what was at the time an industrial area of New Orleans to avoid the complications that might arise from the establishment of an black university within a residential neighborhood. In 1932, the main building with its connected convent wing was dedicated. The library was constructed in 1937. The Gothic style main building and convent are constructed of Indiana limestone, while the library is constructed of blonde brick. Xavier University is an early example of African Americans enjoying high quality university facilities despite the widespread inequities during the Jim Crow era.

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