Vann, Richard Tilman

Item

Name
Vann, Richard Tilman
One-line bio
North Carolina Baptist minister and President of Meredith College, 1900-1915.
Biography
Richard Tilman Vann was a Baptist minister, educator, and president of Meredith College. Despite losing both of his arms in a cane mill accident, Vann overcame his disability and excelled as a student, graduating top of his Wake Forest class in 1873 before earning a doctor of divinity degree from the Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. A lifelong Baptist, Vann served the Baptist State Convention of North Carolina in many roles including as executive secretary of the Convention’s Educational Board. During Vann’s tenure as President of Meredith College he regularly welcomed to campus and associated with leaders of the state’s white supremacy campaign and elected officials who implemented disenfranchisement of African-Americans and the Jim Crow regime. For example, he was friends with Claude and William Kitchin as well as Charles B. Aycock. At these individuals’ deaths, he publically eulogized Aycock and William Kitchin at their funerals and praised segregationist Claude saying, “He loved righteousness and hated iniquity and did not know how to refuse a worthy cause.” Vann was also a close friend of the Dixon family. Vann roomed with Clarence Dixon in college, maintained Delia Dixon Carroll as Meredith College physician, and favorably reviewed Thomas Dixon Jr.’s published works. Vann’s 1902 review of Thomas Dixon’s novel The Leopard’s Spots, claimed it “boldly reproduces the actual history of those horrible years of Reconstruction.” Vann further supported Lost Cause efforts by attending “Southern Night Exercises,” which reputedly taught “Southern youth something more of the Southern Confederacy than the books tell.”
Date of Birth
24 November 1851
Date of Death
25 July 1941

Position: 110 (9 views)

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