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WU Alum Opens only HBCU in Michigan

WU History Fact

Dr. Violet T. Lewis- Wilberforce Graduate Class of 1917

*Founder of the Lewis College of Business in Detroit, Michigan the only HBCU in Michigan that once trained many young African American women to enter the business workforce.

The school originally was started in Indianapolis before Ms. Lewis decided to move to Detroit.

* Dr. Lewis went to Detroit with a recommendation of friend and ended up renting a building on the Westside of Detroit where the school would start.

*Dr. Lewis used assistance from the Booker T. Washington Business Association and The Housewives League to get a feel if there was a need for a school like this in the city. Everyone was on board especially since the other business schools would not enroll African Americans. The Housewives League would meet and learn about local black businesses. They would knock on doors and pass out flyers to promote black business and they also advertise the opening of the soon to be school.

*Lewis College of Business opened the with 50 students on September 25, 1939.

*Dr. Lewis was elated with the 50 students because she would barely have 50 students at her school in Indianapolis with in 1 year.

*Dr. Lewis also established two sororities- Gamma Phi Delta and Tau Gamma Delta

*One of Dr. Lewis’s daughter- Dr. Harris served as the president of the college for almost 30 year.

*This past August in Detroit there was a memorial highway sign unveiling ceremony honoring Dr. Violet T. Lewis, the founder of Lewis College of Business.

*Dr. Lewis passed in 1968 from cancer.

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