Pine Bluff’s large African American population and its place as a major economic center in south-central Arkansas made it the choice in 1873 for the state’s only institution of higher education for blacks. The school grew slowly at first, but a fifty-acre campus expansion plan of 1927 was made possible by a state appropriation and supplemented by funding from the Rosenwald Fund. The institution became a four-year college in 1929, merged with the University of Arkansas in 1971, and the following year was renamed the University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff. In the late 1940s a building campaign doubled the size of the campus. The buildings are arranged around a central quadrangle marked at its center by the W. E. O’Bryant Bell Tower (1943–1947). Built by brick mason and masonry instructor A. A. Mazique with the help of students, the three-stage red brick tower with concrete trim is square in shape with corner buttresses. The tower stands on a concrete base, and each stage is successively narrower, with the upper stage displaying a clock on all four faces. The lowest stage is open with round arches, and originally a water fountain stood at its center.
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University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff (Arkansas Agricultural, Mechanical and Normal College [AM&N])
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