Henry A. Hunt

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Henry Alexander Hunt (October 10, 1866[1] - October 1, 1938) was an African-American educator who led efforts to reach blacks in rural areas of Georgia. He was awarded the Spingarn Medal by the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), as well as the Harmon Prize. In addition, he was recruited in the 1930s by President Franklin D. Roosevelt for his Black Cabinet, more than 40 prominent African Americans whom he appointed to positions in the executive agencies.

Early life and education[edit]

Henry A. Hunt was born in 1866 on "Hunt Hill", in Hancock County, Georgia, part of the Black Belt. One of eight children, he attended school at Sparta. At 16, he started at Atlanta University, one of the historically black colleges created after the American Civil War. After graduation, he went on to become an educator.


Hunt worked for the education of black students for his entire career. After graduating, he was the principal at Charlotte Grade School in 1891, then a superintendent at Biddle University.[2]

In 1930, Hunt received the recognition of major awards for his twenty-five years of service in the education of black students. He was then principal of the Fort Valley High and Industrial School, Fort Valley, Georgia.[3] [4] Over the years, he raised funds to build the plant of the school, beginning with one ramshackle room; turned it into a community center of teaching about health and farming, as well as academic subjects, and built relations with the regional community of 300,000 blacks and whites. Established in 1895, the school was affiliated with the American Church Institute of the Protestant Episcopal Church.

In the 1930s Hunt was invited to participate in President Franklin D. Roosevelt's Black Cabinet. He was one of a total of 45 African Americans who created federal policy on education, jobs and housing at major cabinet-level agencies in the executive branch. They also acted as Roosevelt's informal advisers on national issues related to African Americans and the New Deal.

Hunt died on October 1, 1938[5]

In 1939 Fort Valley High and Industrial School was consolidated with the Teacher College and became Fort Valley College. With expansion and addition of programs, in 1996, it became chartered as Fort Valley University.

Legacy and honors[edit]