Hampton University – One of the Most Successful African-American Institutions

1 Posted by - March 5, 2023 - BLACK EDUCATION, Black History

Located on the beautiful shore of Chesapeake Bay in Hampton, Virginia, the Hampton University was founded in 1868 by Samuel Chapman Armstrong. He was the son of one of the prominent missionary families that settle in Hawaii during the early years of 19th century. During the civil war, Armstrong got admission at Williams College located in Massachusetts. He worked for the Union Army, got an instant rise in rank and was made the in-charge of an African-American military unit. By the time civil got ended, Armstrong received the rank of Brevet General.

After the civil war, Armstrong tried his luck with the Freedmen’s Bureau and scrutinized great need for proper education and vocational skills among the slaves who were recently freed. With great support from the American Missionary Society and looking after those educational needs, Armstrong along with some great philanthropists found the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute. Hampton proudly welcomed African-American and then Native Americans after 1877.  Intense training was given to all the attendees to build good character, better teaching skills, to work as polished artisans and to provide good leadership in the society. Native Americans continued their studies at Hampton until 1923.

One of the famous graduates of the 19th century of Hampton, Booker T. Washington, introduced the “Hampton Idea” into the “Tuskegee Institute” which he founded in Alabama, in 1881. By the 1900s, the Hampton and Tuskegee Institutes were the most successful and famous African-American institutes that were committed to provide vocational and agricultural education and inspired several colleges throughout the country.

By the early 20th century, John Hope and W.E.B. DuBois, among many other educators became extremely critical about the Hampton Idea. In response to such strict criticism, Hampton continued its services in 1922 and expanded its curriculum and faculty, enhanced their admission criteria and introduced a fresh four years bachelor’s degree program. In 1926, Hampton awarded its first batch of B.A. degrees, and after two years, it started its first graduate program. In 1932, Hampton received accreditations by the Southern Association of Colleges.  From that time only, Hampton started recruiting academically skillful students from across the country. In 1984, Hampton Institute was renamed as Hampton University, and it continued to expand by introducing new research programs in arts and sciences. Today, Hampton University has an enrollment of about 5,500 undergraduate and graduate students and offers more than 50 different degree programs.

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