This Day in Black History: April 18, 1868

Hampton University, the noted African-American college, was founded.

Posted: 04/18/2013 08:00 AM EDT

Hampton University, a historically Black university located in eastern Virginia, was founded on April 18, 1868, by African-American and white leaders of the American Missionary Association in the aftermath of the Civil War. It was established with the goal of providing education to the free Black citizens.

The school’s roots date back further, from the early days of the Civil War, when the association hired a Black teacher to give lessons to slaves and free Black residents despite Virginia’s position of prohibiting Black residents to be educated. The Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School was founded by the biracial leadership of the association and would later be known as Hampton Institute. The Association included leaders in a number of Congregational and Presbyterian churches.

In 1878, Hampton established a formal education program for Native Americans.

Among the school’s well known alumni are Booker T. Washington; John T. Biggers, the Harlem Renaissance muralist; George R. Lewis, the former president and chief executive of the Phillip Morris Capital Corporation; and Wanda Sykes, the comedian.

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(Photo: Courtesy Frances Benjamin Johnston Collection/ Library of Congress)

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