Four blacks were members of the first AMA board, including escaped slave and minister James William Charles Pennington, Charles Bennett Ray, Samuel Ringgold Ward, and Theodore S. Wright. In later years distinguished African Americans such as Henry Highland Garnet and Samuel E. Cornish were AMA board members. During the Reconstruction period, the AMA focused its resources and efforts on creating and supporting higher education institutions for African Americans. The list of Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) that were founded by the AMA or received early support from the organization included Hampton Institute (later University), Fisk University, Howard University, Atlanta University (now Clark Atlanta), Straight University (now Dillard), Tougaloo College, Talladega College, LeMoyne College (now LeMoyne-Owen), Avery Institute, and Tillotson College (now Huston-Tillotson). African Americans were represented among the first AMA teachers in the South, including Mary Smith Peake, who is credited with being the first teacher at a school for freed slaves.