The school was the dream of Lewis Adams, a former slave and George W. Campbell, a former slave owner. Adams could read, write and speak several languages despite having no formal education. He also was an experienced tinsmith, harness-maker and shoemaker and Prince Hall Freemason, an acknowledged leader of the African-American community in Macon County, Alabama.
During Reconstruction, the period following the American Civil War, the South was impoverished. Many blacks were illiterate and had few employable job skills. Adams was especially concerned that, without an education, the recently freed former slaves would not be able to support themselves. Campbell, of like-thinking, had become a merchant and a banker. He had little experience with educational institutions, but he was willing to contribute all of his resources and efforts to make the school a success.
W.F. Foster, a white candidate for the Alabama Senate, came to Adams with a question. What would Adams want in return for securing the votes of African Americans in Macon County for Foster and another white candidate? In response, Adams asked for a normal school for the free men, freed slaves and their children (a normal school, at that time, was the name for a teacher's college) to be established in the area.
Foster and the other candidate were elected. He worked with the fellow legislator Arthur L. Brooks to draft and pass legislation authorizing $2,000 to create the school. Adams, Thomas Dyer, and M.B. Swanson formed Tuskegee's first board of commissioners. They wrote to Hampton Institute in Virginia, asking the school to recommend someone to head their new school. Former Union Army General and Hampton Principal Samuel C. Armstrong felt that he knew just the man for the job: 25 year-old Booker T. Washington.
|Dr. Booker T. Washington||1881 – 1915|
|Dr. Robert Moton||1915 – 1935|
|Dr. Frederick Patterson||1935 – 1953|
|Dr. Luther Foster, Jr.||1953 – 1981|
|Dr. Benjamin Payton||1981 – present|
Lewis Adams and Tuskegee's governing body agreed, and hired Washington, although such positions had always been held by whites. Under his leadership, the new normal school (for the training of teachers) opened on July 4, 1881 in space borrowed from a church. The following year, Washington bought the grounds of a former plantation, where the campus is still located. The buildings were constructed by students, many of whom earned all or part of their expenses. The school was a living example of Washington's dedication to the pursuit of self-reliance. In addition to training teachers, one of his great concerns was to teach the practical skills needed to succeed at farming or other trades. Washington had his students do not only agricultural and domestic work, but also erect buildings. This was done in order to teach his students to see labor not only as practical, but also as beautiful and dignified. One of Tuskegee's most noteworthy professors was George Washington Carver, who was recruited by Washington.
In addition to building Tuskegee, Washington became a famous orator and leading spokesperson for African Americans in the United States for the final 20 years of his life. He was awarded honorary degrees, including a doctorate. Later Washington was perceived as accommodating, for emphasizing industrial arts as the priority in black education. At the same time, however, he used his wealthy patrons to secretly fund and arrange legal representation for blacks in litigation over disfranchising provisions of state constitutions. He helped bring forward such cases as Giles v. Harris (1903) and Giles v. Teasley (1904).
Dr. Washington used Tuskegee to develop a network of wealthy American philanthropists such as Andrew Carnegie, Collis P. Huntington, John D. Rockefeller, and Henry Huttleston Rogers. According to Dr. Washington's papers, Rogers, who had a poor public image as a robber baron and a leader of Standard Oil, was actually warm and generous with his friends, family and what he felt were worthy causes. An early champion of the concept of matching funds, Henry Rogers was a major anonymous contributor to Tuskegee and dozens of other black schools for more than 15 years. In June 1909, Dr. Washington made a famous speaking tour along the newly completed Virginian Railway in Rogers' personal railcar Dixie, stopping at rural points in southern Virginia and southern West Virginia where the railroad was providing a new transportation link for commerce. His traveling companion on the tour recorded that Dr. Washington was warmly received by blacks and whites alike.
Another major relationship Washington developed was with Julius Rosenwald, son of an immigrant Jewish clothier and self-made man who had risen to the top of Sears, Roebuck and Company in Chicago, Illinois. He and other Jewish friends had long been concerned about the lack of educational resources for blacks, especially in the South. After meeting with Dr. Washington, Rosenwald agreed to serve on Tuskegee's Board of Directors. He also worked with Dr. Washington to stimulate funding to train teachers schools such as Tuskegee and Hampton Institute. Beginning with a pilot program in 1912, he created model schools and stimulated construction of new schools. He used technical help from Tuskegee to develop plans and build schools. Rosenwald created a fund but required communities to raise matching funds to encourage local collaboration. Rosenwald and Washington stimulated the construction and operation of more than 5,000 small community schools and supporting resources for the education of blacks throughout the rural the South in the early 20th century. The local schools were a source of much community pride and were of priceless value to African-American families during those troubled times in public education. This work was a major part of Dr. Washington's legacy and was continued (and expanded through the Rosenwald Fund and others) for many years after his death.
Despite his travels and widespread work, Dr. Washington continued as principal of Tuskegee. Concerned about the educator's health, Rosenwald took steps to ease his tireless pace. However, in 1915, Washington died at the age of 59, as a result of congestive heart failure, reportedly aggravated by overwork. At his death, Tuskegee's endowment exceeded US$1.5 million. He was buried on the campus near the chapel.
|President William McKinley (Republican)||visited Deceumber 16, 1898|
|President William Howard Taft (Republican)||visited April 27, 1920|
|First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt||visited July 26, 1941|
|President Gerald Ford (Republican)||visited April 13-14, 1978|
|Vice President George H. W. Bush (Republican)||visited April 12, 1981|
|President Ronald Reagan (Republican)||Spring Commencement Speaker |
on May 10, 1987
|President George W. Bush (Republican)||visited April 19, 2006|
Eleanor Roosevelt also corresponded with F.D. Patterson, the president of the Tuskegee Institute, and lent her support to the Institute whenever she was able to do so.
Points of "special historic interest" noted in the landmark description include:
The campus is also a National Historic Site, under name Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site, distinct from the airfield which is a separate National Historic Site.
The Kellogg Conference Center offers state-of-the-art multimedia meeting rooms, as well as a 300-seat auditorium and an elegant ballroom that accommodates up to 350 guests.
The Kellogg Conference Center is the only such center on a historically black campus. There are a total of 11 worldwide. Other Kellogg Conference Centers are located at: Michigan State University, Gallaudet University and Cal Poly Pomona
|Emery dormitories 4 buildings||1900|
|Women's Trades Building||1901|
|Men's residence Hall||1904|
|Collis P. Huntington Memorial Building academic building||1904-05|
|Milbank Agriculture Building||1909|
|Tompkins Hall, dining facility||1910|
|White Hall, women's dormitory||1910|
|John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital||1913|
|Laundry, now The George Washington Carver Museum||1915|
|Wilcox Trade Buildings, archichiture buildings||1928|
|Logan Hall, old gym||1931|
|Armstrong Science Building||1932|
|Hollis Burke Frissell Library||1932|
|Courtesy of the MIT Institute Archives & Special Collections|
Robert Taylor arrived in Boston in September 1888 from Wilmington, North Carolina. Taylor ws born on June 8, 1868 in Wilmington.
In June 1890 and again in September 1891, Taylor was recommended for the Loring Scholarship, which he held for two consecutive academic years: 1890-1891 and 1891-1892. It has been said that Taylor may be the first recipient of the Loring Scholarship.
During Robert Taylor's course of study at MIT, Taylor talked in person on more than one occasion with Booker T. Washington. It is not certain exactly how or when Washington got wind of Taylor's excellent record at MIT, but Washington was often on the lookout for qualified African Americans whom he hoped to recruit for leadership roles at Tuskegee.
What Washington had in mind was for Taylor to develop the industrial program at Tuskegee and to plan and direct the construction of new buildings for the campus.
At the MIT faculty meeting on May 26, 1892, Taylor was one of 12 students in Course IV recommended for the degree in architecture.
The class of 1892 was the largest on record since MIT's founding.
After graduation Taylor did not head directly to Tuskegee. Robert Taylor finally accepted the Tuskegee offer in the fall or winter of 1892.
Taylors first building on the Tuskegee campus was the Science Hall (Thrasher Hall) completed in 1893. The new Science Hall was constructed entirely by students, using bricks made also by students under Taylor's supervision. The project epitomized Washington's philosophy of instilling in Tuskegee students, the descendants of former enslaved Africans, the value and dignity of physical labor and it provided an example to the world of the capabilities of African Americans in the building trades, and it underscored the larger potential of the manual training curricula being developed at Tuskegee.
A number of other buildings followed including the original Tuskegee Chapel, erected between 1895 and 1898. After the Chapel came The Oaks, built in 1899, home of the Principal of Tuskegee Institute, Booker T. Washington.
From 1899-1902 Taylor returned to Cleveland to work on his own and for the architectural firm of Charles W. Hopkinson. Following his return to Tuskegee from Cleveland in 1902, he served as architect and director of "mechanical industries" until his retirement in the mid-1930s.
To develop a sound curriculum at Tuskegee, both Washington and Taylor looked to MIT as a model. Taylor's own admiration for MIT as a model for Tuskegee's development was conveyed in a speech that he delivered at MIT in 1911.
Taylor cited examples to the 1891 US Congress in a paper to illustrate the kinds of rigorous ideas, approaches, and methods that Tuskegee had adopted from MIT and successfully applied within the context of a black educational institution.
Throughout his life, Taylor retained a deep respect for MIT. In 1942, less than a decade after his retirement from Tuskegee, he wrote to the secretary of his MIT class indicating that he had just been released from treatment for an unspecified illness at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minnesota. "Thanks to a kind Providence and skillful physicians," he said, "I am much better now."(62) Not long afterwards--on December 13, 1942--he died suddenly while attending services in the Tuskegee Chapel, the building that he considered his outstanding achievement as an architect.
Robert Taylor also served for a period as vice-principal of Tuskegee, beginning in 1925.
In 1929, under the joint sponsorship of the Phelps-Stokes Fund, the Liberian government, and Firestone Rubber, he went to Kakata, Liberia to lay out architectural plans and devise a program in industrial training for the proposed Booker T. Washington Institute in Liberia, "the Tuskegee of Africa."
Robert Taylor served on the Mississippi Valley Flood Relief Commission, appointed by President Herbert Hoover, and was chairman of the Tuskegee chapter of the American Red Cross.
Tuskegee's students can also participate in dozens of civic organizations, student media groups, service groups, state clubs and honor societies representing virtually every academic discipline.
Students also have the option of developing their own campus organizations with the approval of the Dean of Students.
The prominence of Tuskegee University football is longstanding as well. Among its records include: 27 SIAC championships; eight national HBCU championships; 70 winning seasons out of 113; 16 undefeated seasons; eight appearances in the Pioneer Bowl (championship match up between the SIAC and CIAA champs) in the bowl's 10 years of existence; 12 other postseason games not including the Pioneer Bowl; 23 NFL pro draft picks; about 40 free agents in the NFL, CFL and Arena football league; first HBCU to win 500 career games.
The Sheridan Broadcasting Network, the national polling agency that ranks black college football programs, recently named Tuskegee the No. 1 football team in the nation. In addition to winning the university's 600th career victory and a national championship, the Golden Tigers of Tuskegee also won their second consecutive SIAC championship, the sixth in the last decade.
With these achievements Tuskegee continues the tradition of being the Winningest Black College Football program in the Nation, being the #2 all time in Wins and Win Percentage in NCAA Division II Football along with being a Top 40 Football program tradition in the South averaging 10.2 wins a season dominating the SIAC Conference with their latest Conference title coming in 2007.
Tuskegee was also the first black college to have a football stadium, Cleve Abbott Memorial Stadium.
Tuskegee University gets PACE donation: Businesses donated more than $12 million in computer hardware and software
Mar 27, 2001; Philadelphia Tribune, The 03-27-2001 Tuskegee University gets PACE donation: Businesses donated more than $12million in computer...