Traditions and heritage at Pine Bluff's first Branch Normal, then A M & N college, now University of Arkansas at Pine Bluff.
Branch Normal College was established in 1873 by an act of the Legislature as a branch of the Arkansas Industrial University in Fayetteville which is now the University of Arkansas. School opened on September 27,1875, in a rented frame building on the corner of Sevier and Lindsey Streets with Professor J.C. Corbin, in charge, seven students enrolled, three from Jefferson County and four from Drew County. Corbin, the founder of the school, is pictured in the upper right.
The top left section of the mural, shows a mechanical arts class. Mechanical arts was one of the disciplines promoted at Branch Normal and later the name of the college was changed to Arkansas Agrigcultural Mechanical and Normal College. The man whose portrait appears in the top left section was the first president of A. M. & N. College, John Brown Watson. He established many of the traditions of the college and managed to get the multipurpose concept of education adopted and implemented.
The next pane to the right shows what appears to be one of the first of the Branch Normal classes in the two-story brick structure, erected in 1882 by state funds on a fifty-acre plot in the suburbs of Pine Bluff.
The third pane to the right shows the barn that was the first building on the site that is now UAPB and the big pane below shows how the Branch Normal College looked when it first opened. Also pictured are Isaac Fisher, Jefferson Ish, Robert Malone, and F. T. Vinegar, who all made significant contributions to the advancement of the college. The official seal of present day UAPB reflects its heritage.