On May 16, 1855, Major Richard R. Wright was born into slavery in Dalton, Ga. In the years following the Civil War, Wright’s mother moved her family to Atlanta, Ga. where he attended Storrs School, a school for children of freed people.

Storrs School was an institution founded by the American Missionary Association (AMA). While attending the institution, Wright became one of the best students at Storrs at the time. 

In 1876, Wright was first n his graduating class at Atlanta University. Following his graduation from Atlanta University he went on to pursue further education at prestigious learning institutions such as Harvard Law School, Columbia University, the University of Chicago, Oxford University, and the University of Pennsylvania.

During this time, Major Wright married his wife Lydia Elizabeth Howard, and they went on to have nine children. In 1891, Wright moved his family to Savannah, Ga. where where he founded Georgia State Industrial College. The college was intended for the furtherance of education by colored youth so that they could get the best education possible. 

Georgia State Industrial College is now known as Savannah State University. Wright served as the first presiding president of Georgia State College, lasting from 1891-1921. The courses offered at the college were classical liberal arts and vocational education.

In order to motivate his students, Wright brought various speakers to campus to speak to the students including such famous individuals as Booker T. Washington, Mary McLeod Bethune, and Mary Church Terrell. Wright was even able to bring President McKinley and President Taft to visit campus. 

Wright not only made great contributions to his beloved Georgia State College now Savannah State University but also to society as a whole. By the end of his term as president, Wright was seen as a moral pillar of education among African Americans.

By the time Wright established the university until he concluded his term as president, Georgia State College had grown from eight attendees to four hundred, and now Savannah State University is home to over four thousand students.

That is seriously impressive.

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