The Jenkins Orphanage (now officially known as the Jenkins Institute For Children) was established in 1891 by Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins in Charleston, South Carolina. Jenkins was a businessman and Baptist minister who encountered street children and decided to organize an orphanage for young African Americans.
The original site of this orphanage was at 660 King Street, but the number of orphans on roll quickly outgrew the facilities. In 1893, the orphanage moved to the Old Marine Hospital at 20 Franklin Street. This National Historic Landmark, designed by Robert Mills, served as home of the orphanage until 1937. Its present day location is in North Charleston, South Carolina.
Jenkins Orphanage Bands
The orphanage took in donations of musical instruments. Not being a musician, Jenkins hired two local Charleston musicians — P.M. "Hatsie" Logan and Francis Eugene Mikell — to tutor the boys in music. Upon its establishment, it became the only black instrumental group organized in South Carolina. The band's debut was on the streets of Charleston with the permission of the mayor, police chief, and Chamber of Commerce. The Jenkins Orphanage Band, wearing discarded Citadel uniforms, performed throughout the United States and even toured England raising money for the support of the orphanage. It played in inaugural parades of Presidents Theodore Roosevelt and William Taft. It appeared at the St. Louis Exposition and the Anglo-American Exposition in 1914. It toured the USA from coast to coast, and played in Paris, Berlin, Rome, London, and Vienna. As many as five bands were on tour during the 1920s. The band ceased to exist in the 1980s.
William “Cat” Anderson, Jabbo Smith and Freddie Green are but a few of the alumni from the Jenkins Orphanage band who made it to the big time. The orphanage was responsible for providing numerous children with another chance, which many took advantage of by going on to lead productive lives, including teachers and attorneys. Luther M. Reames Jr., Esq. is a vice-president with a major bank and an example of a Jenkins Orphanage success story.
- Jenkins Institute For Children
- Avery Research Center
- University of South Carolina Archives
- Time Magazine
- The Charleston Jazz Initiative
- South Carolina Music Hall of Fame
- Charleston Jazz by Jack McCray
- Fox Movietone News: Jenkins Orphanage Band at the Internet Movie Database
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- Excerpt of Fox Movietone News: Jenkins Orphanage Band at the South Carolina University Libraries Moving Image Research Collections