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Black and Red Education at Hampton Institute: A Case Study of the Shawnee Indians, 1900–1925

  • Wilma King

Abstract

Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute, founded by General Samuel C. Armstrong, son of American missionaries in Hawaii and a Union commander of black soldiers in the Civil War, opened its doors for newly freed blacks in 1868. Hampton has a long tradition of educating students of African descent; however, a significant but less well-known facet of the institution’s history is its role in defining the education of native Americans between 1877 and 1923. Hampton Institute sought to educate the two peoples in academics, industrial trades, and manual training, along with Christian education. David Wallace Adams’s study of the education of Arizona’s Hopi Indians between 1887 and 1917 reveals similarities with Hampton’s system: in both cases, administrators appeared more interested in “civilizing” and “Americanizing” the “oldest” Americans than providing well-rounded academic instruction. The implied objective was to force Native Americans to give up their customs. Integral to this process was the abandonment of their traditional names, clothing, and religion. Although a number of scholars have included discussions about Indians at the institution in larger studies, others, primarily ph. d. dissertations and m. a. theses, have remained unpublished. Donai E Lindsey’s Indians at Hampton Institute, 1877–1923 is the seminal publication on the subject. This study, by contrast, focuses on an even smaller facet of Indian education—that of the “Shawnees,” eight black students designated as Native Americans. The success of Hampton Institute’s Indian program may be measured by studying these students, six of whom participated in programs “for Indians only” while the other two were classified as “Negroes” and integrated into the general student body of African Americans.1

Keywords

Depression Steam Transportation Income Assimilation 
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Notes

  1. 1.
    See David Wallace Adams, “Schooling the Hopi: Federal Indian Policy Writ Small, 1887–1917” in Leonard Dinnerstein and Kenneth T Jackson, eds., American Vistas, 1877 to the Present (New York: Oxford University Press, 1995), 27–44;Google Scholar
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    Elaine Goodale Eastman, Pratt: The Red Man’s Moses (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1935), 59, 63;Google Scholar
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    Francis Greenwood Peabody, Education for Life: The Story of Hampton Institute (New York: Doubleday, 1918), 148–150;Google Scholar
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    Wilma King Hunter, “Coming of Age: Hollis B. Frissell and the Emergence of Hampton Institute, 1893–1917” (Indiana University, Ph.D. diss., 1982), 14–18, 24–26;Google Scholar
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    Ian F. Haney Lopez, “The Social Construction of Race: Some Observations in Illusion, Fabrication, and Choice,” Harvard Civil Rights-Civil Liberties Law Review 29 (Winter 1994): 3–62.Google Scholar
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    Helen W. Ludlow, Ten Years’ Work Among the Indians at Hampton, Virginia, 1878–1888 (Hampton: Hampton Institute Press, 1888), 4;Google Scholar
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    Margaret Muir, “Indian Education at Hampton Institute and Federal Policy” (Brown University: M.A. thesis, 1970), 81;Google Scholar

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© Wilma King 2005

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  • Wilma King

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