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Wednesday, February 1, 2017

Connecting Black History through Transcription

Robert Russa Moton (1867-1940) graduated from Hampton National and Agricultural Institute (now University) in  1890. He served as the school's commandant of cadets from 1891-1915 before becoming the second president of Tuskegee Institute (now University). Anacostia Community Museum Archives, Smithsonian Institution, gift of Thurlow E. Tibbs, Jr., Estate.

In recognition of Black History Month, the National Museum of African American History and Culture and the Anacostia Community Museum  are collaborating to discover hidden connections across their respective collections. To start off the month NMAAHC and ACM highlight collections relating to African American education history.

After the Civil War, many of the first colleges for African Americans were established to provide training for teachers and future leaders. Now known as HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), these schools educated some of the most famous African Americans of the twentieth century including Booker T. Washington (Hampton University), W.E.B. Du Bois (Fisk University), Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Morehouse College), Ralph Abernathy (Alabama State University), Thurgood Marshall (Lincoln University), Katherine Johnson, (West Virginia State University), Marian Wright Edelman (Spelman College), and Oprah Winfrey (Tennessee State University).

One of the earliest HBCUs was Hampton University in Hampton, Virginia. Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) was founded in 1868 by General Samuel Chapman Armstrong with the support of the American Missionary Association. In its early days, Hampton trained African American educators. The school also emphasized self-improvement and job training to enable students to become gainfully employed and self-supporting as craftsmen and industrial workers. Listed in Hampton Classes 1871-1898 are the names of the graduates of Hampton Institute between 1871 and 1898. Included in this reference book are two of Hampton’s most famous alumni: Booker T. Washington (founder of Tuskegee Institute) and Robert Sengstacke Abbott (founder of the Chicago Defender). Help us transcribe this document and let us know if  you find other famous alumni on these pages?

We invite the public to transcribe letters, catalogues, playbills, scrapbooks and programs on the Smithsonian Digital Volunteers: Transcription Center to help us become aware of people, places, and events buried within these documents.

Jennifer Morris, Anacostia Community Museum
Courtney Bellizzi, National Museum of African American History and Culture
Douglas Remley, National Museum of African American History and Culture

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