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Students at Hampton Institute, Photograph, 1907


Materials in the Library of Virginia’s collections contain historical terms, phrases, and images that are offensive to modern readers. These include demeaning and dehumanizing references to race, ethnicity, and nationality; enslaved or free status; physical and mental ability; and gender and sexual orientation. 


The primary resource in this entry is a photograph of young Black men taken in a schoolroom at Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) in 1907.

Hampton Institute was founded in 1866 as Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute by Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, to train Black teachers. The Freedman’s Bureau was instrumental in providing financial support.  The school’s primary goal was to educate Black students as leaders and teachers in their communities and the school became well-known across the South for training educators like Booker T. Washington. In 1878, Hampton's mission expanded with the admission of Indigenous students. The growth intensified Armstrong dependence on benefactors and in turn left it further exposed to the rising racism among American whites.

The school became recognized as a college in the 1920s and achieved university status in 1984.

Citation:  Prints & Photographs, Special Collections, Library of Virginia, Richmond. 


Social Studies: VS.1, VS.4, VS.7, VS.8, VS.9, USI.1, USI.5, USI.8, USI.9, USI.10, USII.1, USII.3, USII.7, USII.8, WHII.5, VUS.1, VUS.3, VUS.6, VUS.7, VUS.8, VUS.9, VUS.13 GOVT.1, GOVT.3, GOVT.11
Art: 4.1, 5.1

Suggested Questions

Up for Debate: W.E.B. DuBois and Booker T. Washington had very different views on the purposes and content of education for Black students. Compare and contrast their views.

Artistic Exploration: Make a map showing the location of historically Black colleges. Illustrate what kinds of education each institution focused on and write for each an informational blurb.

Artistic Exploration: Look carefully at the photo of the four young men at Hampton. What can you learn from this photo?