Education was central to the strategy for the development of the black race after slavery. So the Oakwood School was a mainstay to the progress and development of black leaders and the black work in the Adventist Church. Ellen White gave her full support to the school via promotion, personal funds, and her son James Edson White, who worked in the Southern field.

Led by God

In the night season I was taken from place to place, from city to city, in the Southern field. I saw the great work to be done—the work that ought to have been done years ago. We seemed to be looking at many places. Our first interest was for the places where the work has already been established, and for the places where the way has opened for a beginning to be made. I saw the places in the South where institutions have been established for the advancement of the Lord’s work. One of the places that I saw was Graysville, and another [was] Huntsville. The Lord led in the establishment of these schools.

Letter 25, 1902


It was for the education of Christian workers, that, in the providence of God, the General Conference purchased a beautiful farm of three hundred acres near Huntsville, Ala., and established an industrial training-school for colored students.

Review and Herald, September 21, 1905

Decided Instruction

Some very decided instruction has been given me in regard to the work to be done in Huntsville, and the necessity of our placing the Training School there on vantage ground. Let us delay no longer to do the work that so long has been left undone in the Southern field.

Letter 228, 1907

Several years ago it was presented to me that the Gentile world should be called upon to make donations to our work in the Southern field. Let discreet, God-fearing men go to worldly men that have means, and lay before them a plan of what they desire to do for the colored people. Let them tell about the Huntsville School, about the orphanage that we desire to build there, and about the colored mission schools that are needed all over the Southern states. Let the needs of this work be presented by men who understand how to reach the hearts of men of means. Many of these men, if approached in the right way, would make gifts to the work.

Letter 295, 1905

When this light was given me, I had never seen Huntsville. I was shown that Huntsville would be a place of special interest to those who would act their part to help the colored people.

The Oakwood Manual Training School (1908), SpTB12x, 2

Encouraging Realities

I am so pleased to see the colored students who are here today. I wish that there were a hundred of them, as it has been presented to me that there should be….

Speech to Oakwood students, June 1, 1904

Targeted Encouragement

I am speaking to the colored students here today because I want to encourage them.

Talk given to Oakwood students, June 21, 1904

Methods and Motives

All that is done by those connected with the Huntsville School, whether they be teachers or students, is to be done with the realization that this is the Lord’s institution…

Review and Herald, September 21, 1905

School Success

Yes, it is success, and you can make it; you can determine to make it; you can have everything.

Oakwood Board Meeting, July 5, 1904

Special Work

Over and over again the light has been given that a special work is to be done in Huntsville.

Letter 205, 1905

I was shown that Huntsville would be a place of special interest to those who would act their part to help the colored people.

Pamphlets on selected subjects 163 (1909), 2-3

Uniquely Well Begun

I need not say any more this morning. I am very thankful that I could visit your school. For years I have done what I could to help the colored people, and I have never found the work so well begun in any place as I find it here at the present time.

Speech to Oakwood students on June 1, 1909

Hold the Land

We are not to go searching for other lands and purchasing other grounds for the colored people. I have been shown that the land in Huntsville will yield her treasures.

Manuscript 143, 1904

The instruction was given me, never part with an acre of this land.  It is to be used in educating hundreds.

Speech to Oakwood students on June 1, 1904