Campus Views

Palmer Memorial Institute

By the early 1930s, the campus of Palmer Memorial Institute (PMI) had grown to include nearly 400 acres of land and 14 buildings valued at close to $500,000. Steam heated and wired for electricity, the buildings were the envy of the community. Most of the homes in the surrounding Sedalia community did not receive electricity until sometime in the 1940s.

The school enjoyed its heyday in the 1940s as one of the finest finishing schools available for African Americans. Palmer was recognized worldwide, attracting students from more than forty states and several foreign countries, including Liberia and the West Indies. The success of PMI also brought attention from prominent Americans. The acclaimed African American educator Mary McLeod Bethune, and First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt each spoke at Palmer during this period. Charlotte Hawkins Brown herself traveled extensively, and made inspirational speeches regularly.

aerial view of PMI Campus


Graduating class of 1943 in front of Kimball Hall  

Palmer students stand and say grace in the dining hall

exterior of Massachusetts Congregational Women's Cottage, 1953