The Brightside: UMES

Its a school that has grown in size and changed its name since opening its doors over 130 years ago.

Today the University of Maryland Eastern Shore educates about 3,200 students each year and boasts many different undergrad degrees including masters and doctoral programs.

The school has very humble beginnings.

“The University began as “Princess Anne Academy’ in 1886. It actually was created for minorities and people of color who actually not afforded the opportunity for education.”, says social media coordinator Janay MacIntosh.

UMES graduate and social media coordinator, Janay MacIntosh, shares that the first class of students was just 13 people strong when it first opened its doors.

Those men and women, most of them born into slavery, learned trades like farming and service industry techniques.

“A lot of our female students were learning how to be housemaids and how to cook and things of that nature. And the men mostly learned about farming and the land.” , says MacIntosh.

By 1927 college classes were added to the curriculum, making it a junior college.

Eventually the school would become the University of Maryland Eastern Shore in 1970.

The school started off with one building and 16 acres but has added many structures over the years all of which pay homage to people who played an important role in developing the school to what it is today.

“Trigg Hall is one of the most iconic buildings on campus. Its named after Frank Trigg, which is one of the principals of the Princess Anne academy.”, says MacIntosh.

Trigg was born a slave but was seriously hurt as a child which left him physically disabled.

Because he was so bright — Trigg was sent off to Hampton University in Virginia for a formal education.

He ended up coming to the school and was a life-long educator and one of its presidents.

The Trigg building sits on the school’s academic oval — which is listed on the national historic registry.

“Not a lot of the students probably know the history. I think once you know some of the history here — you definitely feel a lot more connected your historical roots.” , says MacIntosh.

The University has educated many generations of students and played host to American icons like Dr Martin Luther King and Jackie Robinson.

Both icons delivered commencement speeches here at UMES.

The schools is an Eastern Shore staple.

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