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Toni Anderson, Music Historian, on
Fisk's financial problems

Toni Anderson Why is Fisk having financial problems?

Anderson : A lot of factors play into the reason why the financial problems became a reality. For one thing, giving. The AMA is a missionary organization and it relied upon giving to fund its operations. Giving was intense when the abolitionist movement was at its peak. And of course, once the war was won, people were not only suffering from the effects of war financially, but also in a sense the cause had been won, so giving tapered off a bit. Then too, the AMA had founded many schools for blacks, so their funds were being spread around to more than just one organization. Also what happened is Fisk never lacked for interested students coming to the institution, but they had difficulty at times collecting the tuition. So George White took on the responsibility, as treasurer, to send out numerous letters trying to collect money from students who were behind in their tuition. Well, blacks weren’t necessarily wealthy. And although tuition was low, it was still a problem paying the bill. And then too, many students would go out and teach in the summer in different surrounding communities, and they would teach in some of the public schools for blacks, and the county was supposed to pay them. Well, the county didn’t always pay. So the students would have gone out and they would earn their tuition for the next semester, supposedly, but when they came back, they had no money.

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