St. Philip’s College


James Steptoe Johnston, a bishop of St. Philip’s Episcopal Church of the West Texas Diocese, founded St. Philip’s Normal and Industrial School to educate and train recently emancipated slaves. Opening March 1, 1898, the school began as a weekend sewing class for six black girls, taught by Miss Alice G. Cowan, a missionary with the Episcopal Church. In 1902, Artemisia Bowden, daughter of a former slave, joined the school as administrator and teacher. Miss Bowden served St. Philip’s College for 52 years. Under her supervision, the school grew from an industrial school for girls into a high school and later, a junior college. In 1942, the school, retaining the St. Philip’s Junior College name, affiliated with San Antonio College and the San Antonio Independent School District, marking the end of the college’s era as a private institution.