Tuskegee - Encyclopedia

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TUSKEGEE, a town and county-seat of Macon (disambiguation)|Macon county, Alabama, U.S.A., in the east part of the state, about 40 m. E. of Montgomery. Pop. (1890), 1803; (1900), 2170. It is served by the Tuskegee railway, which connects it with Chehaw, 5 m. distant, on the Western railway of Alabama. The city manufactures cotton seed. Tuskegee is chiefly known for its educational institutions - the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute and the Alabama Conference Female College (Methodist Episcopal Church, South; opened 1856). The former was founded in 1880 by an act of the state legislature as the Tuskegee State Normal School, and was opened in July 1881 by Booker T. Washington for the purpose of giving an industrial education to negroes; in 1893 it was incorporated under its present name. In 1899 the national Congress granted to the school 25,000 acres of mineral lands, of which 20,000 acres, valued at $200,000, were unsold in 1909. Andrew Carnegie gave $600,000 to the institute in 1903, and the institute has a Carnegie library (1902), with about 15,000 volumes in 1909. In 1909 the endowment was about $1,389,600, and the school property was valued at about $1,117,660. It had in 1909 a property of 2345 acres (of which 1000 were farm lands, 1145 pasture and wood lands, and 200 school campus), and loo buildings, many of brick, and nearly all designed and constructed, even to the making of the bricks, by the teachers and students. The state of Alabama appropriated $2000 for teachers' salaries in 1880, increased the appropriation to $3000 in 1884, and for many years gave $4500 annually; the school receives $10,000 annually from the John F. Slater Fund, and the same sum from the General Education Board. The institute comprises an academic department (in which all students are enrolled) with a seven years' course, the Phelps Hall bible training school (1892), with a three years' course, and departments of mechanical industries, industries for girls, and agriculture. The department of agriculture has an experiment station, established by the state in 1896, in which important experiments in cotton breeding have been carried on. There are a farm, a large truck garden, an orchard, and a bakery and canning factory. Forty different industries are taught. Cooking schools and night schools are carried on by the institute in the town of Tuskegee. In1908-1909the enrolment was 1 494 students, of whom about one-quarter were women, and there were 167 teachers, all negroes. Tuition in the institute is free; board and living cost $8.50 a month; day students are allowed to "work-out" $1.50-$3.00 a month of this amount, and night students may thus pay all their expenses. At Tuskegee under the auspices of the institute are held the annual negro conferences (begun in 1891) and monthly farmers' institutes (begun in 1897); and short courses in agriculture (begun in 1904) are conducted. Farmers' institutes are held throughout the South by teachers of the school. In 1905 the institute took up the work of rural school extension. A model negro village (South Greenwood) has been built west of the institute grounds on land bought by the institute in 1901. Affiliated with the institute and having its headquarters in Tuskegee is the National Negro Business League (1900). The success of the institute is due primarily to its founder and principal, Booker T. Washington, and to the efficient board of trustees, which has included such men as Robert C. Ogden and Seth Low. Tuskegee was settled about 1800.

See Booker T. Washington, Working With the Hands (New York, 1904); and Thrasher, Tuskegee, Its Story and Its Work (Boston, 1900).

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