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The demise of small-town colleges

While traveling through the Cleburne County village of Quitman recently, I was reminded that the town had been the location and namesake of the long-dead Quitman College. Established in 1870 by the Methodist Church, Quitman Male and Female College was as much preparatory school as college--like most of the "colleges" in Arkansas at that time. The Methodists ceased sponsorship of the college in 1898, reflecting the economic hardships facing a church that was trying to establish a network of educational institutions in a poor rural state only a generation removed from the devastation of the Civil War.

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