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Hampton Institute


Hampton Institute

Hampton University
File:Hampton University logo.png
Motto "The Standard of Excellence, An Education for Life"
Established April 1, 1868 (1868-04-01)
Type Private, HBCU
Endowment $193 million[1]
President William R. Harvey
Students 5,000
Location Hampton, Virginia, United States
Campus Suburban, 250 acres (352.8 km²)
Former names Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute
Hampton Institute
Colors blue & white            
Athletics NCAA Division I FCS
Nickname Pirates
Affiliations MEAC

Hampton University is a historically black university located in Hampton, Virginia, United States. It was founded in 1868 by black and white leaders of the American Missionary Association after the American Civil War to provide education to freedmen. In 1878 it was also teaching Native Americans.


The campus looking south across the harbor of Hampton Roads was founded on the grounds of "Little Scotland", a former plantation in Elizabeth City County not far from Fortress Monroe and the Grand Contraband Camp that gathered nearby. These facilities represented freedom to former slaves, who sought refuge with Union forces in the first year of the war.

The American Missionary Association (AMA) responded in 1861 to the former slaves' need for education by hiring its first mulatto teacher, Mary Smith Peake, who had secretly been teaching slaves and free blacks in the area despite the state's prohibition in law. She first taught for the AMA on September 17, 1861 and was said to gather her pupils under a large oak. After it was the site in 1863 of the first reading in the South of the Emancipation Proclamation, it was called the Emancipation Oak. The tree, a symbol of the university and the city, is part of the National Historic Landmark District at Hampton University.

The Hampton Agricultural and Industrial School, later called the Hampton Institute, was founded in 1868 after the war by the biracial leadership of the AMA, who were chiefly Congregational and Presbyterian ministers. It was first led by former Union General Samuel Chapman Armstrong.[2] Among the school's famous alumni is Dr. Booker T. Washington, who became an educator and later founded Tuskegee Institute, another college supported by the AMA. The President Abraham Lincoln's Emancipation Proclamation was read to local freedmen under the same historic tree, which is still located on the campus today. It serves as a symbol for the modern city of Hampton.

Civil War

During the American Civil War (1861–1865), Union-held Fortress Monroe in southeastern Virginia at the mouth of Hampton Roads became a gathering point and safe haven of sorts for fugitive slaves. The commander, General Benjamin F. Butler, determined they were "contraband of War, to protect them from being returned to slaveholders, who clamored to reclaim them. As numerous individuals sought freedom behind Union lines, the Army arranged the construction of the Grand Contraband Camp nearby from materials reclaimed from the ruins of Hampton, which had been burned by retreating Confederates. This area was later called "Slabtown."

Hampton University can trace its roots to the work of Mary S. Peake, which began in 1861 with outdoor classes which she taught under the landmark Emancipation Oak in the nearby area of Elizabeth City County. The newly issued Emancipation Proclamation was first read to a gathering under the historic tree there in 1863.

After the War: teaching teachers

After the War, a normal school ("normal" meaning to establish standards or norms while educating teachers) was formalized in 1868, with former Union brevet Brigadier General Samuel Chapman Armstrong (1839–1893) as its first principal. The new school was established on the grounds of a former plantation named "Little Scotland", which had a view of Hampton Roads.  The original school buildings fronted the Hampton River. Legally chartered in 1870 as a land grant school,it was first known as "Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute."

Typical of historically black colleges, Hampton received much of its financial support in the years following the Civil War from the American Missionary Association (whose black and white leaders represented the Congregational and Presbyterian churches), other church groups and former officers and soldiers of the Union Army. One of the many Civil War veterans who gave substantial sums to the school was General William Jackson Palmer, a Union cavalry commander from Philadelphia. He later built the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad, and founded Colorado Springs, Colorado. As the Civil War began in 1861, although his Quaker upbringing made Palmer abhor violence, his passion to see the slaves freed compelled him to enter the war. He was awarded the Medal of Honor for bravery in 1894. (The current Palmer Hall on the campus is named in his honor.)

Unlike the wealthy Palmer, Sam Armstrong was the son of a missionary to the Sandwich Islands (which later became the U.S. state of Hawaii). He also had dreams  for the betterment of the freedmen. He patterned his new school after the model of his father, who had overseen the teaching of reading, writing and arithmetic to the Polynesians. He wanted to teach the skills necessary for blacks to be self-supporting in the impoverished South. Under his guidance, a Hampton-style education became well known as an education that combined cultural uplift with moral and manual training.  Armstrong said it was an education that encompassed "the head, the heart, and the hands."

At the close of its first decade, the school reported a total admission in the ten years of 927 students, with 277 graduates, all but 17 of whom had become teachers. Many of them had bought land and established themselves in homes; many were farming as well as teaching; some had gone into business. Only a very small proportion failed to do well. By another 10 years, there had been over 600 graduates. In 1888, of the 537 still alive, three-fourths were teaching, and about half as many undergraduates were also teaching. It was estimated that 15,000 children in community schools were being taught by Hampton's students and alumni that year.[3]

Booker T. Washington: spreading the educational work

Among Hampton's earliest students was Booker T. Washington, who arrived from West Virginia in 1872 at the age of 16. He worked his way through Hampton, and then went on to attend Wayland Seminary in Washington D.C. After graduation, he returned to Hampton and became a teacher. Upon recommendation of Sam Armstrong to founder Lewis Adams and others, in 1881, Washington was sent to Alabama at age 25 to head another new normal school. This new Institution eventually became Tuskegee University. Embracing much of Armstrong's philosophy, Washington built Tuskegee into a substantial school and became nationally famous as an educator, orator, and fund-raiser as well. He collaborated with the philanthropist Julius Rosenwald in the early 20th century to create a model for rural black schools - Rosenwald established a fund that matched monies raised by communities to build more than 5,000 schools for rural black children, mostly in the South

Native Americans

In 1878, Hampton established a formal education program for Native Americans. In 1875 at the end of the American Indian Wars, the United States Army sent seventy-two warriors from the Cheyenne, Kiowa, Comanche and Caddo Nations, to imprisonment and exile in St. Augustine, Florida. Essentially they were considered hostages to persuade their peoples in the West to keep peace. Richard Henry Pratt supervised them at Fort Marion and began to arrange for their education in the English language and American culture. Numerous visitors to St. Augustine from the North became interested in their cases and volunteered as teachers. They also provided them with art supplies, and some of the resulting works (including by David Pendleton Oakerhater) are held by the Smithsonian Institution. At the end of the warriors' incarceration, Pratt convinced seventeen to enroll at Hampton Institute for a fuller education.[4] (Later Pratt founded the Carlisle Indian Industrial School based on the same philosophy of education and assimilation). Altogether, seventy Native Americans, young men and women from various tribes, mostly from the Plains rather than the acculturated tribes that had occupied Virginia, joined that first class. Because Virginia's aristocrats sometimes boasted of their Native American heritage through Pocohontas, it was hoped that the Native American students would help locals to accept the university's black students. The black students were also supposed to "civilize" the Native American students to current American society, and the Native Americans to "uplift the Negro[es]."[5][6]

The program died in 1923, in the face of growing controversy over racial mingling. Native Americans stopped sending their boys to the school after some employers fired Native American men because they had been educated with blacks. The program's final director resigned because she could not prevent "amalgamation" between the Native American girls and black boys.[7]

Name changes, expansion, community

Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute became simply Hampton Institute in 1930. With the addition of departments and graduate programs, it was accredited as Hampton University in 1984.[8] Originally located in Elizabeth City County, it was long-located in the Town of Phoebus, incorporated in 1900. Phoebus and Elizabeth City County were consolidated with the neighboring City of Hampton to form a much larger independent city in 1952. The City of Hampton uses the Emancipation Oak on its official seal. From 1960 to 1970, noted diplomat and educator Jerome H. Holland was president of the Hampton Institute.

The school is informally called simply "Hampton" or "HU" by many students, faculty and supporters. Hampton University and Howard University constantly claim the title, "The Real HU". Both schools enjoy the friendly rivalry.


The campus contains several buildings that contribute to its National Historic Landmark district: Virginia-Cleveland Hall (freshman female dormitory, as well as home to the school's two cafeterias), Wigwam building (home to administrative offices), Academy Building (administrative offices), Memorial Chapel (religious services) and the President's Mansion House.[9][10]

The original High School on the campus became Phenix Hall when Hampton City Public Schools opened a new Phenix High School in 1959. Phenix Hall was damaged in a minor fire on June 12, 2008.[11]

The Emancipation Oak was cited by the National Geographic Society as one of the 10 great trees in the world.

National Historic Landmark District

Hampton Institute
Hampton University
Location NW of jct. of U.S. 60 and the Hampton Roads Bridge Tunnel, Hampton, Virginia

37°01′13″N 76°20′09″W / 37.02028°N 76.33583°W / 37.02028; -76.33583Coordinates: 37°01′13″N 76°20′09″W / 37.02028°N 76.33583°W / 37.02028; -76.33583

Area 200 acres (81 ha)
Built 1866 (1866)
Architect Richard Morris Hunt; Et al.
Governing body Private
NRHP Reference # 69000323[12]
Template:Designation/abbreviation # 114-0006
Significant dates
Added to NRHP November 12, 1969
Designated NHLD May 30, 1974[14]
Designated Template:Designation/abbreviation September 9, 1969[13]

A 15-acre (61,000 m2) portion of the campus along the Hampton River, including many of the older buildings, is a U.S. National Historic Landmark District. Buildings included are:

  • Mansion House, original plantation residence of Little Scotland
  • Virginia Hall built in 1873
  • Academic Hall
  • Wigwam
  • Marquand Memorial Chapel, a Romanesque Revival red brick chapel with a 150-foot (46 m) tower

In addition, Cleveland Hall, Ogden, and the Administration building are also included in the district.[15]

The district was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1969,[12] and declared a National Historic Landmark in 1974.[14][15]

Student activities


Main article: Hampton Pirates

In 1995, Hampton joined the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference, commonly referred to as the MEAC. Since joining, Hampton has won dozens of MEAC titles in football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's track, and men's and women's tennis. In March 2001, the men's basketball team made NCAA Tournament history, becoming only the fourth 15th-seeded team to defeat a 2nd-seeded team. Hampton defeated Iowa State, 58–57 on March 15, but lost to Georgetown two days later. The win still makes SportsCenter's Top 10 NCAA tournament upsets.

Rivals include Norfolk State University, located across Hampton Roads in downtown Norfolk, and Howard University in Washington, D.C.

Hampton's colors are blue and white, and their nickname is "The Pirates". Hampton sports teams participate in NCAA Division I (I FCS for football) in the Mid-Eastern Athletic Conference (MEAC) in which they joined in 1995 after leaving the Central Intercollegiate Athletic Association. Since joining, Hampton has won MEAC titles in many sports, including football, men's and women's basketball, men's and women's track, and men's and women's tennis. In 2001, the Hampton basketball team won its first NCAA Tournament game, when they beat Iowa State 58–57, in one of the largest upsets of all time. They returned to the tournament a year later, as well as in 2006 and 2011. The "Lady Pirates" basketball team has seen great success as well, and made trips to the NCAA tournament in 2000, 2003, 2004, 2010, 2011, and 2012. In 1988, as a Division II school, the Lady Pirates won the NCAA Women's Division II Basketball Championship, defeating West Texas State. In 2011, as a number-13 seed, the Lady Pirates nearly upset Kentucky, but fell in overtime, 66-62.

They won their conference in football in 1997, shared one in 1998 and 2004, and won the conference out right in 2005, 2006. From 2004 to 2007, the university's football team saw much success. The team won 3 MEAC Championships, 3 SBN-Black College National Championships, and was ranked in the Division I FCS top 25 poll each year. The Pirates also sent five players to the NFL Combine in 2007, the most out of any FCS subdivision school for that year. They have also been dominant in tennis winning the MEAC from 1996–1999, 2001-2003 & 2007 for the men and 1998, 2002-2004 for the women. They've also won the men's conference basketball tournament in 2001, 2002, 2006, and 2011.

Pirate athletics are supported by a plethora of groups, including "The Force" Marching Band. The marching band has appeared at several notable performances, including the Barack Obama Presidential Inauguration parade (Washington, DC). "The Force" was chosen out of a large pool of applicants to participate in the parade as the representative for the state of Virginia.

Notable alumni


Name Class year Notability References
Elvin J Dowling 1996 President & CEO, Take Stock In Children; Former Chief of Staff, National Urban League; Acclaimed Motivational Speaker; Published Author of License to Live [2]
George R. Lewis former President & CEO, Phillip Morris Capital Corporation; Listed among the Top 50 Black Executives by Ebony Magazine [16]
Charles Phillips CEO, Infor; Former President, Oracle Corporation
Tami Simmons Senior Vice President, Wells Fargo
Kareem Phillips 2000 President & CEO, PMG Consulting


Name Class year Notability References
Booker T. Washington 1875 Founded Tuskegee University in Alabama.
John A. Kenney 1904 Secretary National Medical Association.
Martha Louise Morrow Foxx noted blind educator
St. Clair Drake 1931 Notable sociologist and anthropologist, who created one of the first African American Studies programs at a college or university in the United States.
Freeman A. Hrabowski III 1969 President of the University of Maryland, Baltimore County
Kimberly Oliver 2006 National Teacher of the Year [17]
William C. Hunter Dean of the Tippie College of Business at University of Iowa [18]
Dr. Wilmer Leon Political Scientist and Associate Professor in the Political Science Department at Howard University. Talk show host on Urban View (XM) Channel 110 on Sirius XM Radio [19]
Ezrah Aharone 1980 political and economic consultant and a scholar of Sovereign Studies. adjunct professor at Delaware State University
Dianne Boardley Suber President of Saint Augustine's College
Edward McIntosh Scholar and Educator


Name Class year Notability References
John T. Biggers Harlem Renaissance Muralist and founder of the Art Department at Texas Southern University
Spencer Christian former weatherman for Good Morning America from 1986 to 1998
Kevin Frazier sports anchor and entertainment news anchor
Wanda Sykes 1986 comedian
DJ Envy 1999 disc jockey
DJ Tay James 2009 disc jockey
Jai Manselle Entrepreneur and branding consultant. Notable clients include Sean Combs, LeBron James and Grey Goose (vodka)
Dr. Kenneth L. Riddle 2004 Recording artist — Member of Tye Tribbett and Greater Anointing
Robi Reed casting director, School Daze, Love Jones, Soul Food
Ruth E Carter 1984 Costume Designer, Sparkle
Dorothy Maynor concert singer
Brandon Fobbs 2002 actor; Best known for his role in the film Pride (film)Template:Dn
Beverly Gooden 2005 Best Selling Author, Confessions of a Church Girl
Emil Wilbekin 1989 entertainment journalist, former editor-in-chief for Vibe Magazine
Angela Burt Murray N/A Editor in Chief of Essence Magazine
Biff Henderson Stage Manager and Personality on the Late Show with David Letterman
A. S. (Doc) Young 1941 Sports journalist [20]

Politics and government

Name Class year Notability References
Allyson Kay Duncan 4th Cir US Circuit Court Judge [21]
Michael K. Fauntroy Professor of public policy at George Mason University and political commentator. He is the nephew of minister and civil rights leader Walter Fauntroy
Vanessa D. Gilmore Federal Judge of the United States District Court for the Southern District of Texas [22]
Theodore Theopolis Jones II Associate Judge of the Court of Appeals, New York [23]
Gloria Gary Lawlah 1960 Secretary of Aging for the State of Maryland [24]
Bryan T. Norwood Police Chief of Richmond Police Department, Richmond, Virginia
Douglas Palmer 1973 Mayor of Trenton, New Jersey
Charles Wesley Turnbull former governor of the U.S. Virgin Islands
Henry E. Parker Former State Treasurer of Connecticut
Joan Pratt 1974 Comptroller City of Baltimore
Gregory M. Sleet U.S. District Court Judge for the United States District Court for the District of Delaware [25]
Robert S. Ferrell 1983 Major General U.S. Army
W. Carlton Weddington member of Ohio House of Representatives
Spencer Overton 1990 Election Scholar George Washington University Law School

Sociology and humanities

Name Class year Notability References
Alberta Williams King 1924 mother of Martin Luther King Jr.
Elizabeth Omilami Chief Executive Officer, Hosea Feed the Hungry and Homeless


Name Class year Notability References
Darian Barnes former NFL Running Back
Johnnie Barnes former NFL wide receiver
Chris Baker current NFL defensive tackle
James Carter award-winning Track athlete
Marcus Dixon current NFL defensive tackle, Dallas Cowboys, New York Jets, Kansas City Chiefs [26]
Reggie Doss former National Football League defensive end
Justin Durant 2007 current NFL linebacker, Jacksonville Jaguars, Detroit Lions
Kendrick Ellis current NFL defensive tackle, New York Jets [27]
Devin Green 2005 former NBA Player [28]
Rick Mahorn 1980 former NBA Player Washington Bullets, Detroit Pistons, New Jersey Nets, WNBA Detroit Shock Head Coach [29]
Nevin McCaskill former NFL Football offensive lineman [30]
Francena McCorory 2010 Track and Field, NCAA 400m 3X-Champion [31]
Kellie Wells Track and field sprinter
Marquay McDaniel 2007 CFL Football Player, Hamilton Tiger-Cats
Dick Price 1957 former head football coach at Norfolk State University from 1974 to 1983, and held positions as head coach of track team and athletic director at Norfolk State [32]
Donovan Rose 1980 former NFL defensive back and current head coach of the Hampton Pirate football team [33]
Terrence Warren former NFL wide receiver [33]
Cordell Taylor former NFL defensive back [34]
Jerome Mathis former NFL wide receiver [35]
Isaac Hilton former NFL defensive end [36]


Further reading

External links

  • Official website
  • Official athletics website
  • Information on Hampton University from Virginia African Heritage Program
  • Template:AFI film

Template:Southeastern Universities Research Association Template:National Register of Historic Places in Virginia

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