BELTON, Texas – The report released today from the Commission on Historical Campus Representations at Baylor University is consistent with the University of Mary Hardin Baylor’s understanding of our shared history. We appreciate the Commission’s research and thoughtful work over the past several months to prepare this report.
In 1845, a charter approved by the Congress of the Republic of Texas established Baylor University in Independence. This charter provided for both a male and a female department. The female department gained its own charter in 1866, moved to Belton in 1886, and is today the University of Mary Hardin-Baylor. Also, in 1886, the male department of Baylor in Independence and Waco University consolidated to form Baylor University at Waco.
We are grateful that our shared founders worked with conviction to establish the first Baptist university in Texas, but shamefully they were also owners of enslaved people. While the terrible actions of these individuals cannot be eliminated, UMHB believes that all truth is grounded in God and that the pursuit of truth and the Christian faith are mutually reinforcing. In that spirit, UMHB will remember our founders for the work they did in establishing a Baptist university in the frontier of Texas while also acknowledging the parts of our history marred by the sins of these early leaders. UMHB and Baylor University will work together to update markers and displays at the original site of the Female Department in Independence, Texas, to incorporate the full history of our early years, specifically as it relates to the roles of enslaved people.
As previously announced in August of 2020, UMHB has engaged the consulting group Renew Partnerships to guide us as we take a deep look at how racism is affecting people of color on our campus. Renew Partnerships has an established track record in helping colleges identify sources of racial injustice and how to address those problems in practical and biblically sound ways.
UMHB is a private Christian university affiliated with the Baptist General Convention of Texas. Today the University enrolls 3,876 students from 35 states and 32 countries.