Martin David Jenkins

Martin Jenkins
7th President of Morgan State College (now called Morgan State University)
Term 1948 – 1970
Predecessor Dwight O. W. Holmes
Successor Thomas P. Fraser, Ed.D.(interim)
Born September 4, 1904(1904-09-04)
Indiana Terre Haute, Indiana
Died June 9, 1978(1978-06-09) (aged 73)
Washington, D.C.
Alma mater Howard University
Indiana State University
Northwestern University
Residence United States
Profession Education
Spouse Elizabeth Lacy

Dr. Martin D. Jenkins, PhD (September 4, 1904–1978) was an African American educator, known for his pioneering work in the field of education.


Early life

The only child of David W. and Josephine (Miller) Jenkins, Martin was born in Terre Haute, Indiana. Jenkins's father was a civil engineer, a position that placed his family among the approximately 10 middle-class African-American families living in Terre Haute at that time. Jenkins attended a racially segregated public elementary school and later entered a large, integrated high school of over 1500 students where he was one of only a few African-American students in his graduating class of 1921.

Jenkins attended Wiley High School. As captain of the track team and its top sprinter, Jenkins established Vigo County records in the 50-yard (5.6 seconds), 100-yard (10.2) and 220-yard (24.0) dashes. He then won the district meet in the 100 and 220 to advance to the state finals.


He graduated with a B.S. in Engineering in 1925,from Howard University. Upon earning an engineering degree from Howard, Jenkins became a partner with his father in a Terre Haute highway contracting business while taking classes at State Normal. He secured an A.B. degree in Education from Indiana State in 1931 and, on September 7, 1927, wed Elizabeth Lacy.

After teaching briefly at Virginia State College (now Virginia State University), Jenkins began graduate work at Northwestern University under Terre Haute native and Indiana State alumnus, Paul A. Witty. He earned a master’s in 1933 and a doctorate in education in 1935. His dissertation was a socio-psychological study of African-American children of superior intelligence.

Before becoming President of Morgan State College of Baltimore in 1948, Jenkins was registrar and professor of education at North Carolina A&T(1935–1937); dean of instruction at Cheyney State (Pa.) Teachers College (now Cheyney University)(1937–1938); and professor of education, Howard University (1938–1948).

A diplomate of the American Board of Examiners in Clinical Psychology, Martin published more than 80 scholarly articles and monographs and lectured on topics related to his expertise throughout the world. He also served on several presidential commissions, councils and task forces.

Honored as a Distinguished Alumnus by Indiana State in 1964, Jenkins was awarded honorary doctorates by the University of Liberia, Delaware State College, Howard University and Johns Hopkins University, among others. After his retirement as president of Morgan State in 1970, he became the director of the Office of Urban Affairs for the American Council of Education.


  • Jenkins, M. D. (1935). "A Socio-Psychological Study of Negro Children of Superior Intelligence". Unpublished doctoral dissertation, Northwestern University.


Preceded by
Dwight O. W. Holmes
Presidents of Morgan State College (now Morgan State University)
Succeeded by
Thomas P. Fraser, Ed.D.(interim)

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