African-American Perspectives
The Progress of a People
Segregation and Violence Solving the Race Problem Contributions to the Nation

SESSION 2: The Church as a Factor | Champions of Human Liberty | Industrial Education | Higher Education

Session Topic
Higher Education
Image: captions follows
Students seated at desks in class room, Tuskegee, Ala. Underwood & Underwood. Photograph, 1906. LC-USZ62-26266.
After the Civil War, there was a great and immediate need for teachers to educate emancipated slaves. To meet this need, the Freedmen's Bureau -- an agency of the federal government -- the American Missionary Society, and various churches established normal schools and colleges throughout the South.

In 1868, the Hampton Institute was established by General Samuel Chapman Armstrong. In 1881, Tuskegee Institute began operation, with Booker T. Washington, -- an alumnus of Hampton -- serving as principal. These two schools provided what was called "practical education" -- training in agriculture, domestic science, and manual and industrial arts. Heavily endowed by industrial philanthropists, Tuskegee and its principal soon achieved worldwide importance and influence.

The question of whether the education of African-Americans should focus upon practical training or the liberal arts was to dominate discussions among black intellectual leaders for a generation. To many white leaders of the day, practical education meant a continuation of the black's status as domestic servant and manual worker. To the black leaders of the Niagara Movement, liberal education offered hope of true advancement.

Pamphlet Excerpt
from "The Primary Needs of the Negro Race" by Kelly Miller

.WAV format   |   Entire Pamphlet

Audio Transcription:

The first great need of the Negro is that the choice youth of the race should assimilate the principles of culture and hand them down to the masses below. This is the only gateway through which a new people may enter into modern civilization...The Roman youth of ambition completed their education in Athens; the noblemen of northern Europe sent their sons to the southern peninsulas in quest of larger learning...The graduates of Hampton and other institutions of like aim are forming centers of civilizing influence in all parts of the land, and we confidently believe that these grains of leaven will ultimately leaven the whole lump.

SESSIONS: Segregation and Violence | Solving the Race Problem | Contributions to the Nation

The Progress of a People

African-American Perspectives