George R. Smith College Historic Marker Ceremony – Wednesday, October 25, 2023, 3:00 p.m. – 538 West Saline

The City of Sedalia’s City Council and Historic Preservation Commission invite the public to the unveiling of the historic marker commemorating the George R. Smith College. This historic marker is located at 538 West Saline Street and marks the location of the college as it existed from 1894-1925.

The site is significant as the college was a historically black college attended by Scott Joplin who was famous for the composition of the “Maple Leaf Rag”, regarded as the first composition to sell over a million copies and which became the blueprint for royalty contracts in the American music industry. The college played an important role in the lives of young people for several decades.

Other distinguished alumni include:

  • Myrtle Craig Mowbray, the first African American woman to graduate from Michigan State University in 1907.
  • John Wesley Donaldson, the greatest pitcher of his era playing for the All Nations team and the Kansas City Monarchs with over 420 wins and 5,221 strikeouts during his career in baseball.
  • T. Manuel Smith, MD, president of the National Medical Association (1942-43).

The college was erected on land donated by the founder of Sedalia, George R. Smiths daughters Sara Smith Cotton and Martha Elizabeth Martin, opened in 1894 and operated until it burned down April 26, 1925.

Join us as we unveil this historic marker and celebrate the legacy of George R. Smith College.