|Unveiling of Historical Marker|
The first African American PhD in Texas, Dr. Farmer arrived in Marshall in 1917 to pastor Ebenezer Methodist Church and to teach Latin, religion, psychology and philosophy at Wiley College. He later was on the faculty of Rust College in Holly Springs, Mississippi, Gammon Theological Seminary in Atlanta, Howard University School of Theology in Washington DC, and Huston College (now Huston-Tillotson) in Austin, where he also served as registrar and dean. He returned to Wiley in 1936, and served on the faculty with Melvin Tolson whose debate team was the basis for "The Great Debaters". In the film, Dr. Farmer is portrayed by Forest Whitaker.
Dr. Farmer was born on June 12, 1886 in Kingstree, South Carolina, and attended Mary McLeod Bethune's Cookman Institute in Florida and Boston University. The scholarship he won to BU did not cover transportation, and he walked the 1200 miles to Massachusetts. He completed the coursework and dissertation for his doctorate in one year; the program had a two-year residence requirement and he spent the additional year doing post-graduate work at Harvard.