Exploring Black History Month 2017: Education & Theater

Exploring Black History Month 2017

This February marks Black History Month. With select projects shared by Anacostia Community Museum Archives and the National Museum of African American History and Culture, we invite you to explore African American education history at the start of February. In the second part of the month, you'll have opportunities to delve into African American theater with more transcription projects.

Get a preview of this month's activities in our #TCBlackHistoryMonth campaign launch announcement.


Explore Projects Completed During #TCBlackHistoryMonth


Education


After the Civil War, many of the first colleges for African Americans were established to provide training for teachers and future leaders. Now known as HBCUs (Historically Black Colleges and Universities), these schools educated some of the most famous African Americans of the twentieth century including:


  • Booker T. Washington (Hampton University)
  • W.E.B. Du Bois (Fisk University)
  • Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. (Morehouse College)
  • Ralph Abernathy (Alabama State University)
  • Thurgood Marshall (Lincoln University)
  • Katherine Johnson (West Virginia State University)
  • Marian Wright Edelman (Spelman College)
  • and Oprah Winfrey (Tennessee State University).

  • Education Projects



    During our #TCBlackHistoryMonth campaign, volunteers collaborated to complete the following projects:


    Post Mortem, 1929

    In 1929, students in the “professional groups” (medical, dental, law, and pharmaceutical) at Howard University decided to publish a separate yearbook “not to disrupt University Spirit, but…to enhance, concentrate, and help propagate University Spirit.” Post Mortem, as the inaugural publication was titled, features a history of the College of Medicine, a listing of professors and students, and a detailed look into the class of 1929. COMPLETED!


    The Guardian

    This final volume of the Homer G. Phillips Hospital School of Nursing’s yearbook, The Guardian, takes a look at the forty-nine year existence of the nursing school and honors the more than one thousand women who trained as nurses there from 1919 to 1968. This yearbook, which belonged to 1947 graduate Pauline Brown Payne, includes photographs of each of the school’s graduating classes as well as autographs and personal notes from many of the school’s graduates. COMPLETED!



    Catalogue of the Hampton Institute, 1886-87

    Explore this set of names of students at Hampton Institute during the 1886-87 school year. Help us transcribe this yearbook and learn more about the faculty, students, and the types of courses students enrolled in during the late nineteenth century. COMPLETED!


    Hampton Classes, 1871-1898

    In 1871, Hampton Institute graduated its first class comprised of five women and fourteen men. Between 1871 and 1898 the sizes of the graduating classes at Hampton continued to grow. Listed here are the names of every person to graduate from Hampton Institute between 1871 and 1898. Included in this reference book are two of Hampton’s most famous alumni: Booker T. Washington (founder of Tuskegee Institute) and Robert Sengstacke Abbott (founder of the Chicago Defender). COMPLETED!


    The Hampton Student Vol. XI No. 3

    Student-led newspapers are a time-honored tradition at colleges and universities around the country. Learn more about Hampton University, Booker T. Washington’s alma mater, by transcribing the April 1921 edition of The Hampton Student. This edition of the student and alumni newspaper looks into Hampton’s athletic programs. COMPLETED!


    Frederick Douglass Patterson Papers,Tuskegee Institute Correspondence, 1935

    Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson, President of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) from 1935 to 1953 and co-founder of the United Negro College Fund in 1944, implemented significant changes at the university during his administration. He increased faculty housing for professors; integrated the Board of Trustees’ meeting meals; and established the Department of Commercial Dietetics, and the engineering and nursing programs. It was his development of the Commercial/Military Aviation Program that would bring the school’s highest distinction as home of the famed Tuskegee Airmen during World War II. Help us discover more about Dr. Patterson’s contributions to advancing the education of African Americans by transcribing these letters COMPLETED!.




    What the Graduates of Lincoln Institute are Doing, 1906

    Using photographs and biographies, this book highlights the achievements of some of the most notable graduates from Lincoln University in Missouri. Help us transcribe this book and learn more about the university’s earliest graduates. COMPLETED!


    Some Glimpses of Alabama State

    Have you ever wondered what college was like in the 1930s? Take a look at the photos and text in this 1937 Alabama State yearbook and help us transcribe the pages to find out. COMPLETED!


    Les Collégiens 1945

    The 1945 Stowe Teachers College yearbook, Les Collégiens, highlights the students, faculty, and achievements of the graduating class of 1945. Help us transcribe this yearbook to learn more about the philosophy of the institution, the individual classes at Stowe, and the many types of activities students were involved in. COMPLETED!


    Birney School Life Newsletter, November 1950

    Help transcribe the Birney School Life newsletter from 1950. In the newsletter, the students, parents, teachers, and principal share their experiences, showcasing the community atmosphere fostered at school. Birney school was the first school built with federal funding for African Americans in the Anacostia area of Washington, DC. COMPLETED!


    Birney School Life Newsletter, 1951

    The Birney School Life newsletter from 1951 describes the ways the students, parents, teachers, and principal experienced scholastic activity with the community atmosphere fostered at school. Birney school was the first school built with federal funding for African Americans in the Anacostia area of Washington, DC. COMPLETED!


    Birney School Life Newsletter, May 1952

    Check back in with the Birney School Life newsletter from 1952. You'll find reflections from students, parents, teachers, and the principal connecting the community atmosphere to the Anacostia region of Washington, DC. COMPLETED!


    Birney School Life Newsletter, Undated

    This undated Birney School Life newsletter further expands on student life, community support, and ways African American students connected with opportunities in the wider Washington, DC area. COMPLETED!


    Frederick Douglass Patterson Papers, Tuskegee Institute, Correspondence: Letters of Congratulation, 1953

    This project features correspondence to Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson, President of Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) from 1935 to 1953 and co-founder of the United Negro College Fund in 1944, as he was leaving the Institute to become the President of the Phelps Stoke Fund--it details Dr. Patterson’s contributions to advancing the education of African Americans via statements in the correspondence. COMPLETED!



    United Negro College Fund Scrapbook, 1955

    This scrapbook, compiled by United Negro College Fund staffers in 1955, highlights the first twelve years of the organization. The pages include programs, photographs, and clippings mostly affixed to unstable acidic paper. Transcribe these pages to learn more about the Fund’s origins, its founders, and role relating to African American education history. COMPLETED!


    Frederick Douglass Patterson Papers, Robert R. Moton Memorial Institute: Commemorative Celebration, 1986

    In 1958 Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson founded the Robert R. Memorial Institute. This organization provided educational services to small colleges, including training of faculty and students. Learn more about the development and components of this Institute as you transcribe. COMPLETED!.


    Frederick Douglass Patterson Papers, Robert R. Moton Memorial Institute - Come to Capahosic

    This pamphlet details the life and legacy of Robert R. Moton and the institution established in his name in 1958. COMPLETED!.


    Frederick Douglass Patterson Papers, Robert R. Moton Memorial Institute Newsletter

    This 1982 newsletter describes the Robert R. Moton's ongoing efforts as a non-profit institution dedicated to advancing education. COMPLETED!.



    Theater Projects



    Education was only one angle of our collaborative campaign. Here are some of the projects showcasing black theater and entertainment:


    Theater Poster for Lovers of Bourbon, 1856

    Ira Aldridge, a legend of the stage, was one of the most celebrated thespians of the nineteenth century. This theater poster features Aldridge as one of the stars in the 1856 production of Lovers of Bourbon. Transcribe the advertisement for this romantic melodrama to learn more about Aldridge’s performance. COMPLETED!


    Howard Theatre Program - Louis Armstrong: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    The Howard Theatre was built in 1910 and is the Nation’s oldest theater devoted to African American performing arts. Among some of the most notable to perform at the Howard Theatre are Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, Count Basie -- and Louis Armstrong and his Famous Orchestra. Explore this programme of this "Star Packed Holiday Revue."COMPLETED!


    Howard Theatre Memorabilia - Louis Armstrong: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    The theater closed in 1970 and reopened in 1975 due to the efforts of the Howard Theatre Foundation. Unfortunately five years later in 1980 the theater closed for a second time. The Theatre reopened in 2012. Transcribe memorabilia from Howard Theatre and learn more about the performances and efforts to preserve the cultural legacy of this national treasure.COMPLETED!


    National Negro Opera Company Programs and Promotional Materials: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    In 1941 Mary Cardwell Dawson (1894-1962) organized and founded the National Negro Opera Company (NNOC) in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. The organization was the first African American opera company in the United States. Help transcribe programs and promotional materials to learn more about the company’s activities in Washington, DC.COMPLETED!


    Howard Theatre Program - Tan Manhattan: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    The Howard Theatre, a historic theater built in 1910, is the Nation’s oldest theater devoted to African American performing arts. Located in Northwest, Washington, DC, the theater was founded and owned by the National Amusement Company. Andrew Thomas served as manager of the theater during its early years. Sherman Dudley, an actor, producer, and entrepreneur, leased and ran the theater beginning in 1922. Then Abe Lichtman, an owner of a chain of movie houses took over the theater in 1926. Explore this pre-Broadway performance of the musical revue: "Tan Manhattan." COMPLETED!


    Howard Theatre Program - The Devil to Pay: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    Join this project to transcribe the program for the performance of "The Devil to Pay" at the Howard Theatre, a historic theater built in 1910. The Nation’s oldest theater devoted to African American performing arts, it is located in Northwest, Washington, DC. The programme includes background on the New Faces Guild, established by Ralph Matthews. COMPLETED!


    Howard Theatre Program - The Howard Close Up: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    The Howard Theatre was built in 1910 and is the Nation’s oldest theater devoted to African American performing arts. Among some of the most notable to perform at the Howard Theatre are Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie. Help us make programs from the theater’s early decades discoverable and accessible for research. COMPLETED!


    Howard Theatre Program - How Come: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    The Howard Theatre, a historic theater built in 1910, is the Nation’s oldest theater devoted to African American performing arts. Located in Northwest, Washington, DC, the theater was founded and owned by the National Amusement Company. Andrew Thomas served as manager of the theater during its early years. Sherman Dudley, an actor, producer, and entrepreneur, leased and ran the theater beginning in 1922. Then Abe Lichtman, an owner of a chain of movie houses took over the theater in 1926. Explore this pre-Broadway performance of this "Girly Musical Darkomedy": "HOW COME". COMPLETED!.


    Howard Theatre Program - Struttin' Time: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    Join this project to transcribe this brief undated program for the performance of "Struttin' Time" at the Howard Theatre, a historic theater built in 1910. The Nation’s oldest theater devoted to African American performing arts, it is located in Washington, D.C. at the intersections of 7th and T streets NW. The programme includes listing of performers and crew. COMPLETED!.


    Howard Theatre Program - The Devil to Pay: Henry P. Whitehead Collection

    The Howard Theatre was built in 1910 and is the Nation’s oldest theater devoted to African American performing arts. Among some of the most notable to perform at the Howard Theatre are Billie Holiday, Cab Calloway, Duke Ellington, Charlie Parker, Louis Armstrong, Pearl Bailey, Ella Fitzgerald, and Count Basie. Explore this programme of the Thespian Study Club from 1945 and learn more about the history of the club, established in 1933 as you help us make programs from the theater’s early decades discoverable and accessible for research. COMPLETED!.


    Program of An Evening of Comedy with Jackie Moms Mabley and Her Ladies, 2003

    In 2003, well known actress Clarice Taylor wrote and starred in Her: An Evening of Comedy with Jackie “Moms” Mabley and her Ladies presented by the National Black Theater, Inc. Help us transcribe this program to learn more about the cast and “Moms” Mabley. COMPLETED!


    Together, we hope to identify connections across these selected collections from Anacostia Community Museum and the National Museum of African American History and Culture. What stories will you discover hidden histories inside these collections?

    Help Identify Connections Across Projects



    Connections between Hampton Institute and United Negro College Fund Projects

    We began our #TCBlackHistoryMonth event with 3 projects focusing on education. Here's an overview of some connections we've uncovered in these collections-turned-transcription projects so far. Explore them here.







    Tell Us More!

    Once you discover any connections--people, institutions, events, or otherwise--in these projects, let us know. We will add them below!

    Events

    Special Behind-the-Scenes Facebook Live Event: 16 February 2017, 2:30 pm

    Facebook Live Announcement for 16 February 2017 at 2:30 pm

    We learned more about Dr. Frederick Douglass Patterson with Smithsonian’s Anacostia Community Museum and Dianne Dale. You can catch up on this Facebook Live event on YouTube. Ms. Dale is a community historian, writer, and stained glass artist. She provides illustrated lectures on the Freedmen’s Bureau and HBCUs; DC and Anacostia history including the Barry Farm Freedmen’s Village in SE DC. She also presents views into black education after the Civil War - including the work of Dr. Patterson. Her stained glass artwork is accessioned in Smithsonian Collections with Anacostia Community Museum and can be seen at the Smithsonian Ripley Center as part of the 2017 Artists at Work exhibition.







    The Power of Place: Oak Bluffs, Shearer Cottage, and Shearer Summer Theater



    Curator Kevin Strait of the Smithsonian's National Museum of African American History and Culture shares a special behind-the-scenes view into The Power of Place exhibit: Oak Bluffs and the Shearer Theater.

    Covered in the video are the histories of the African American community and architecture, the vacation destination, as well as the Shearer Summer Theater.










    Join Us



    Whether you are an archives professional, staff, researcher, student, or curious: We are actively seeking volunteers to join this world-wide effort. With your help, we can make our vast collections in art, history, and science more accessible to anyone and all around the world. You can browse through projects

    or



    Other Questions?



    Thank you for your interest in the Smithsonian Transcription Center. To get in touch with questions, suggestions or just thoughts about the Transcription Center, please contact us here. You can also tweet questions to @TranscribeSI.

    This project is a product of many many passionate, creative, and dedicated individuals who have contributed subject matter expertise, technical solutions, content and design, and much much more. We can continue to improve through your feedback.