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The founding of what is now Morgan State University began as early as 1864, when African-American ministers in the newly-established Washington Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, most of them associated with Sharp Street Methodist Episcopal Church, developed a vision and plans for an institution for the training of free and newly-freed African Americans. They included: Rev. Benjamin Brown, Rev. Samuel Green, Sr., Rev. Elijah Grissom, Rev. James Harper and Rev. James Peck. They shared their plans with, and sought the support of, white religious leaders in the Baltimore Conference of the Methodist Episcopal Church, to establish the school.

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Contributed to Morgan State University