Hampton-Tuskegee Model - American EducationA system of education developed after the Civil War to provide social, vocational and academic training for former slaves. First introduced in Virginia at the Hampton Institute, it was refined at TUSKEGEE INSTITUTE by its founding president, BOOKER T. WASHINGTON. Confronted with the task of educating thousands of destitute, illiterate and unskilled former black slaves, Samuel Chapman Armstrong, the superintendent of education for the FREEDMAN’S BUREAU, converted an antebellum mansion in Hampton, Virginia, into a school that combined social, academic and manual training in a three-year curriculum that included reading, writing and language skills, mathematics, history, natural science, an agricultural course, a commercial course and a course in mechanics. It also taught all the basics of hygiene and the living customs of white homes, such as the use of beds, sheets and other linens, which were unknown in slave quarters. After completing his education at Hampton in 1878, Booker T. Washington served on the faculty at Hampton until 1881, when he founded Tuskegee Institute in Tuskegee, Alabama. Starting with the basic social, academic and hygiene instruction of the Hampton model, Washington added a teacher-training program and an expanded program of industrial training that covered the range of agricultural, construction and textile manufacturing skills.
The Hampton-Tuskegee Model of education that emerged, with industrial training at its core, came under sharp criticism from northern black academics such as W. E. B. DuBois, who claimed it failed to prepare young blacks for professional careers and leadership roles. Industrial education alone, they contended, would never win civil and political equality for blacks. Supporters of the Hampton-Tuskegee Model scoffed at the notion that academic education alone would have any value to backward, illiterate former slaves of the South. “The plow, the anvil, the hammer, the broom, the frying pan and the needle must be used to supplement the customary instruction,” wrote Thomas Jesse Jones, educational director of the African Education Commission and a former member of the Hampton faculty. Writing of Armstrong’s original scheme in a 1922 commission report, Jones declared, “He [Armstrong] saw that . . . education must be vitally related to the needs of the people as they took up their work as freemen. . . . He saw that the training in agriculture, in industry and in home economics could not only be made to subserve a useful end, but the processes used in acquiring skill as a farmer, as a mechanic, or as a cook . . . have large educational value, both mental and moral.” Jones’s report was used by the British Colonial Office and several North American and European mission societies as standard educational policy in the countries of east, west, south and equatorial Africa.