Tuskegee University

Coordinates: 32°25′49″N 85°42′28″W / 32.43028°N 85.70778°W / 32.43028; -85.70778
From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Tuskegee University
Former names
Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers (1881–1891)
Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute (1891–1937)
Tuskegee Institute (1937–1985)[1]
MottoScientia Principatus Opera
Motto in English
Knowledge, Leadership, Service
TypePrivate historically black land-grant university
EstablishedJuly 4, 1881; 142 years ago (1881-07-04)
Academic affiliations
Endowment$157 million (2021)[3]
PresidentCharlotte P. Morris
Academic staff
263 Full-time and 45 Part-time (Spring 2022)[4]
Students2,570 (Fall 2022)[5]
Undergraduates2,100 (Fall 2022)[5]
Postgraduates215 (Fall 2022)[5]
Location, ,
United States

32°25′48.76″N 85°42′27.81″W / 32.4302111°N 85.7077250°W / 32.4302111; -85.7077250
CampusRural, 5,200 acres (2,100 ha)
NewspaperThe TU Campus Digest [6]
ColorsCrimson and old gold[7]
NicknameGolden Tigers
Sporting affiliations

Tuskegee University (Tuskegee or TU; formerly known as the Tuskegee Institute) is a private, historically black land-grant university in Tuskegee, Alabama. It was founded on July 4th in 1881 by the Alabama Legislature.

The campus was designated as the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site by the National Park Service in 1974. The university has been home to a number of important African American figures, including scientist George Washington Carver and World War II's Tuskegee Airmen.

Tuskegee University offers 43 bachelor's degree programs, including a five-year accredited professional degree program in architecture, 17 master's degree programs, and five doctoral degree programs, including the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine. Tuskegee is home to nearly 3,000 students from around the U.S. and over 30 countries.

Tuskegee's campus was designed by architect Robert Robinson Taylor, the first African-American to graduate from the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, in conjunction with David Williston, the first professionally trained African-American landscape architect.[8]


Planning and establishment[edit]

History class at Tuskegee, 1902

The school was founded on July 4, 1881, as the Tuskegee Normal School for Colored Teachers. This was a result of an agreement made during the 1880 elections in Macon County between a former Confederate Colonel, W.F. Foster, who was a candidate for re-election to the Alabama Senate, and a local black Leader, Lewis Adams.[9] W.F. Foster offered that, if Adams could persuade the black constituents to vote for Foster, then Foster, if elected, would push the state of Alabama to establish a school for black people in the county. The majority of Macon County's population was black, so black constituents had political power. Adams succeeded and Foster followed through with the school.[citation needed] The school became a part of the expansion of higher education for black people in the former Confederate states following the American Civil War, with many schools founded by the northern American Missionary Association. A teachers' school was the dream of Lewis Adams, a former slave, and George W. Campbell, a banker, merchant, and former slaveholder, who shared a commitment to the education of black people. Despite lacking formal education, Adams could read, write, and speak several languages. He was an experienced tinsmith, harness-maker, and shoemaker and was a Prince Hall Freemason, an acknowledged leader of the African-American community in Macon County, Alabama.

Adams and Campbell had secured $2,000 from the State of Alabama for teachers' salaries but nothing for land, buildings, or equipment. Adams, Campbell (replacing Thomas Dryer, who died after his appointment), and M. B. Swanson formed Tuskegee's first board of commissioners. Campbell wrote to the Hampton Institute in Virginia, requesting the recommendation of a teacher for their new school. Samuel C. Armstrong, the Hampton principal and a former Union general, recommended 25-year-old Booker T. Washington, an alumnus and teacher at Hampton.

Original campus buildings on the Miller plantation, 1882

As the newly hired principal in Tuskegee, Booker T. Washington began classes for his new school in a rundown church and shanty. The following year (1882), he purchased a former plantation of 100 acres in size. In 1973 the Tuskegee Institute, now Tuskegee University, did an oral history interview with Annie Lou "Bama" Miller. In that interview she indicated that her grandmother sold the original 100 acres of land to Booker T. Washington. That oral history interview is located at the Tuskegee University archives. The earliest campus buildings were constructed on that property, usually by students as part of their work-study. By the start of the 20th century, the Tuskegee Institute occupied nearly 2,300 acres.[10]

Based on his experience at the Hampton Institute, Washington intended to train students in skills, morals, and religious life, in addition to academic subjects. Washington urged the teachers he trained "to return to the plantation districts and show the people there how to put new energy and new ideas into farming as well as into the intellectual and moral and religious life of the people."[11] Washington's second wife Olivia A. Davidson, was instrumental to Tuskegee's success. As assistant principal, she worked with Washington to raise funds from donors in Massachusetts, and within a few months, they had raised enough to purchase a farm and construct a large school building.[12][13]

Gradually, a rural extension program was developed, to take progressive ideas and training to those who could not come to the campus. Tuskegee alumni founded smaller schools and colleges throughout the South; they continued to emphasize teacher training.

Booker T. Washington's leadership[edit]

Booker T. Washington
The Oaks, Booker T. Washington's home on the Tuskegee campus, c. 1906
Presidents of Tuskegee University
Booker T. Washington 1881–1915
Robert Russa Moton 1915–1935
Frederick Douglass Patterson 1935–1953
Luther H. Foster Jr. 1953–1981
Benjamin F. Payton 1981–2010
Gilbert L. Rochon 2010–2013
Brian L. Johnson 2014–2017
Lily McNair 2018–2021
Charlotte P. Morris 2021 (effective August 1)[14]

As a young free man after the Civil War, Washington sought a formal education. He worked his way through Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute (now Hampton University) and attended college at Wayland Seminary in Washington, DC (now Virginia Union University). He returned to Hampton as a teacher.

Hired as principal of the new normal school (for the training of teachers) in Tuskegee, Alabama, Booker T. Washington opened his school on July 4, 1881, on the grounds of the Butler Chapel African Methodist Episcopal Zion Church. The following year, he bought the grounds of a former plantation, out of which he expanded the institute in the decades that followed.

The school expressed Washington's dedication to the pursuit of self-reliance. In addition to training teachers, he also taught the practical skills needed for his students to succeed at farming or other trades typical of the rural South, where most of them came from. He wanted his students to see labor as practical, but also as beautiful and dignified. As part of their work-study programs, students constructed most of the new buildings. Many students earned all or part of their expenses through the construction, agricultural, and domestic work associated with the campus, as they reared livestock and raised crops, as well as producing other goods.

The continuing expansion of black education took place against a background of increased violence against blacks in the South, after Democrats regained power in state governments and imposed white supremacy in society. They instituted legal racial segregation and a variety of Jim Crow laws, after disfranchising most blacks by constitutional amendments and electoral rules from 1890 until 1964. Against this background, Washington's vision, as expressed in his "Atlanta Compromise" speech, became controversial and was challenged by new leaders, such as W.E.B. Du Bois, who argued that blacks should have opportunities for study in classical academic programs, as well as vocational institutes. In the early twentieth century, Du Bois envisioned the rise of "the Talented Tenth" to lead African Americans.

Washington gradually attracted notable scholars to Tuskegee, including the botanist George Washington Carver, one of the university's most renowned professors.


Perceived as a spokesman for black "industrial" education, Washington developed a network of wealthy American philanthropists who donated to the school, such as Andrew Carnegie (funding a library building), Collis P. Huntington, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Huttleston Rogers, George Eastman, and Elizabeth Milbank Anderson. An early champion of the concept of matching funds, Henry H. Rogers was a major anonymous contributor to Tuskegee and dozens of other black schools for more than fifteen years. There is some discussion as to whether his strong support for "industrial" education was fully earnest or at least partly a strategy to attract such large donors, as he thought the idea of an "industrial" college would appeal to them. Publication of the article "Industrial Education of the Negro" in a leading magazine designed for African-American readers is one piece of evidence against this claim.[15]

Thanks to recruitment efforts on the island and contacts with the U.S. military, Tuskegee had a particularly large population of Afro-Cuban students during these years. Following small-scale recruitments prior to the 1898–99 school year, the university quickly gained popularity among ambitious Afro-Cubans. In the first three decades of the school's existence, dozens of Afro-Cubans enrolled at Tuskegee each year, becoming the largest population of foreign students at the school.[16]


George Washington Carver (front row, center) poses with fellow faculty of Tuskegee Institute in this c. 1902 photograph taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston.

Washington developed a major relationship with Julius Rosenwald, a self-made man who rose to the top of Sears, Roebuck and Company in Chicago, Illinois. He had long been concerned about the lack of educational resources for blacks, especially in the South. After meeting with Washington, Rosenwald agreed to serve on Tuskegee's board of directors. He also worked with Washington to stimulate funding to train teachers' schools such as Tuskegee and Hampton institutes.

Washington was a tireless fundraiser for the institute. In 1905 he kicked off an endowment campaign, raising money all over America in 1906 for the 25th anniversary of the institution. Along with wealthy donors, he gave a lecture at Carnegie Hall in New York on January 23, 1906, called the Tuskegee Institute Silver Anniversary Lecture, in which Mark Twain spoke.

Beginning with a pilot program in 1912, Rosenwald created model rural schools and stimulated construction of new schools across the South. Tuskegee architects developed the model plans, and some students helped build the schools. Rosenwald created a fund but required communities to raise matching funds, to encourage local collaboration between blacks and whites. Rosenwald and Washington stimulated the construction and operation of more than 5,000 small community schools and supporting resources for the education of blacks throughout the rural the South into the 1930s.

Despite his travels and widespread work, Washington continued as principal of Tuskegee. Concerned about the educator's health, Rosenwald encouraged him to slow his pace. In 1915, Washington died at the age of 59, as a result of high blood pressure.[17] At his death, Tuskegee's endowment exceeded US$1.5 million. He was buried on the campus near the chapel.

Tuskegee campus, 1916
Tuskegee campus, 1916

Tuskegee, in cooperation with church missionary activity, work to set up industrial training programs in Africa.[18]


Tuskegee Institute, c. 1916

After Washington's death, he was succeeded as principal by Robert Russa Moton for the next 20 years.[19]

The years after World War I challenged the basis of the Tuskegee Institute. Teaching was still seen as a critical calling, but southern society was changing rapidly. Attracted by the growth of industrial jobs in the North, including the rapid expansion of the Pennsylvania Railroad, suffering job losses because of the boll weevil and increasing mechanization of agriculture, and fleeing extra-legal violence, hundreds of thousands of rural blacks moved from the South to Northern and Midwestern industrial cities in the Great Migration. A total of 1.5 million moved during this period. In the South, industrialization was occurring in cities such as Birmingham, Alabama and other booming areas. The programs at Tuskegee, based on an agricultural economy, had to change. During and after World War II, migration to the North continued, with California added as a destination because of its defense industries. A total of 5 million black Southerners moved out of the South from 1940 to 1970.

Tuskegee syphilis experiment[edit]

From 1932 to 1972, Tuskegee Institute collaborated with the United States government in the Tuskegee syphilis experiment by which the effects of deliberately untreated syphilis were studied. These experiments have become infamous for deceiving study participants, poor African-American men, both by not telling them that they had latent syphilis and by pretending to give them medical care; in fact researchers were only monitoring the progression of the disease. Syphilis is a debilitating disease that can leave its victims with permanent neurological damage and horrifying scars. Penicillin was discovered in 1927 and it was being used to treat human disease by the early 1940s. In 1947 it had become the gold standard in treating syphilis and often only required one intramuscular dose to eliminate the disease. The researchers were well aware of this information and in order to continue their experiments, they chose to withhold the life-saving treatment. The researchers proceeded to actively deter study participants from obtaining penicillin from other physicians. The patients were told that they had "bad blood." This experiment was conducted by the U.S. Public Health Service in collaboration with the Tuskegee Institute. This was a direct violation of the Hippocratic Oath; however, not a single researcher, nor the Tuskegee University was legally punished. Academic research has shown that the study had long-term, damaging effects on black men's health and contributed to mistrust of medical professionals among black men.[20][21]

World War II[edit]

Tuskegee University Chapel (1969)

In 1941, in an effort to train black aviators, the U.S. Army Air Corps established a training program at Tuskegee Institute, using Moton Field, about 4 miles (6.4 km) away from the campus center. The graduates became known as the Tuskegee Airmen. The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site at Moton Field was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1998. The U.S. Army, Air Force, and Navy have R.O.T.C. programs on campus today.

Numerous presidents have visited Tuskegee, including Franklin D. Roosevelt. Eleanor Roosevelt was also interested in the Institute and its aeronautical school. In 1941 she visited Tuskegee Army Air Field and worked to have African Americans get the chance as pilots in the military. She corresponded with F.D. Patterson, the third president of the Tuskegee Institute, and frequently lent her support to programs.[22]


The noted architect Paul Rudolph was commissioned in 1958 to produce a new campus master plan. In 1960 he was awarded, along with the partnership of John A. Welch and Louis Fry, the commission for a new chapel, perhaps the most significant modern building constructed in Alabama.

The postwar decades were a time of continued expansion for Tuskegee, which added new programs and departments, adding graduate programs in several fields to reflect the rise of professional studies. For example, its School of Veterinary Medicine was added in 1944. Mechanical Engineering was added in 1953, and a four-year program in Architecture in 1957, with a six-year program in 1965.

In 1985, Tuskegee Institute achieved university status and was renamed Tuskegee University.[9]

In July 2020, philanthropist MacKenzie Scott donated $20 million to Tuskegee. Her donation is the largest single gift in Tuskegee's history from a known donor.[23]

In 2023, Tuskegee received funding from the National Trust for Historic Preservation to develop plans for safeguarding the school's historic buildings against climate change.[24]

In April 2024, Tuskegee received a $20 million gift from an anonymous donor. The major gift will go towards supporting Tuskegee’s STEM programs and a variety of campus improvements.[25]

Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site[edit]

Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site
Tuskegee University is located in Alabama
Tuskegee University
Tuskegee University is located in the United States
Tuskegee University
Nearest cityTuskegee, Alabama
Coordinates32°25′49″N 85°42′28″W / 32.43028°N 85.70778°W / 32.43028; -85.70778
ArchitectRobert Robinson Taylor
Architectural styleGreek Revival, Queen Anne
WebsiteTuskegee Institute National Historic Site
NRHP reference No.66000151
Significant dates
Added to NRHPOctober 15, 1966[26]
Designated NHLJune 23, 1965[27]

In 1965 Tuskegee University was declared a National Historic Landmark for the significance of its academic programs, its role in higher education for African-Americans, and its status in United States history.[27] Congress authorized the establishment of the Tuskegee Institute National Historic Site in 1974.

The National Historic Site includes Booker T. Washington's home The Oaks and the George Washington Carver Museum. The district historic landmark district includes the entire Tuskegee University campus at the time.[28] "Points of special historic interest" noted in the landmark description include:

The Tuskegee Airmen National Historic Site is at Moton Field, in Tuskegee, Alabama.[29]


Tuskegee University provides Campus Police protection for its students and staff, on and off-campus, which is on-call 24-hours.[30] All officers are state certified.[8]

Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center[edit]

The Tuskegee University Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center

The Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center at the renovated Dorothy Hall (built 1901) was established in 1994 on the campus of Tuskegee University by the W.K. Kellogg Foundation. The Kellogg Conference Center offers multimedia meeting rooms, as well as a 300-seat auditorium and a ballroom that accommodates up to 350 guests. Students studying Hospitality Management within the Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science & Dietetics students within the Department of Food and Nutrition Science are able to receive hands on experience at the Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center. The Kellogg Hotel & Conference Center is the only center at a historically black university; there are only 11 worldwide. Other Kellogg Conference Centers in the United States are located at: Michigan State University, Gallaudet University and the California State Polytechnic University, Pomona (Cal Poly Pomona).[citation needed]


A view of the Tuskegee University campus – White Hall bell tower

The academic programs are organized into five colleges and two schools: (1) The College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences; (2) The College of Arts and Sciences; (3) The Brimmer College of Business and Information Science; (4) The College of Engineering; (5) The College of Veterinary Medicine, Nursing and Allied Health; (6), The Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science; and (7) The School of Education.

Tuskegee houses an undergraduate honors program for qualified rising sophomores with at least a cumulative 3.2 GPA.[32]

Tuskegee University is accredited by the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools Commission on Colleges to award Baccalaureate, Master's, Doctorate, and professional degrees. The following academic programs are accredited by national agencies: Architecture, Business, Education, Engineering, Clinical Laboratory Sciences, Nursing, Occupational Therapy, Social Work, and Veterinary Medicine.

Tuskegee University is the only Historically Black University to offer the Doctor of Veterinary Medicine (D.V.M.); its School of Veterinary Medicine was established in 1944. The school is fully accredited by the Council on Education of the American Veterinary Medical Association (AVMA). About 75% of the nation's African-American veterinarians graduated from Tuskegee's program.[33][34]

College of Veterinary Medicine – Fredrick D Patterson Hall

Tuskegee University offers several Engineering degree programs all with ABET accreditation.

The Aerospace Science Engineering department was established in 1983. Tuskegee University is the first and only Historically Black University to offer an accredited B.S. degree in Aerospace Engineering. The Mechanical Engineering Department was established in 1954 and the Chemical Engineering Department began in 1977; The Department of Electrical Engineering is the largest of five departments within the College of Engineering. The program is accredited by EAC/ABET (Engineering Accreditation Commission/Accreditation Board of Engineering and Technology) and the Southern Association of Colleges and Schools.

College of Engineering – Luther H. Foster Hall has long been home to one of the nation's best engineering programs containing: Aerospace Science Engineering, Chemical Engineering, Electrical Engineering, Materials Science Engineering, Mechanical and Military Science

The Tuskegee University Andrew F. Brimmer College of Business and Information Science is fully accredited by the Association to Advance Collegiate Schools of Business (AACSB-International).

The school of Nursing was established as the Tuskegee Institute Training School of Nurses and registered with the Alabama State board of Nursing, September 1892 under the auspices of the John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital. In 1948 the university began its baccalaureate program in Nursing; becoming the first nursing program in the state of Alabama. The Nursing department holds full accreditation from the National League for Nursing Accrediting Commission and is approved by the Alabama State Board of Nursing.

Tuskegee University School of Nursing – Basil O'Connor Hall. Tuskegee Institute Training School of Nurses was registered with the State Board of Nursing in Alabama in September 1892 under the auspices of Tuskegee University's John A. Andrew Memorial Hospital. In 1948, the School began its baccalaureate program leading to the Bachelor of Science degree in nursing. This program has the distinction of being the first Baccalaureate Nursing program in the State of Alabama.

The Occupational Therapy program is accredited by the Accreditation Council for Occupational Therapy Education (ACOTE) of the American Occupational Therapy Association. The Clinical Laboratory Science Program is accredited by the National Accrediting Agency for Clinical Laboratory Sciences. (NAACLS)

Tuskegee University began offering certificates in Architecture under the Division of Mechanical Industries in 1893. The 4-year curriculum in architecture leading to the Bachelor of Science degree was initiated in 1957 and the professional 6-year program in 1965. The Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture offers two professional programs: Architecture, and Construction Science and Management. The 5-year Bachelor of Architecture program is fully accredited by the National Architectural Accrediting Board (NAAB). Graduates of the program are qualified to become registered architects.

Robert R. Taylor School of Architecture and Construction Science is home to one of only 2 NAAB-accredited, architecture professional degree programs in the state of Alabama. It is also home to one of the top Construction Science and Management degree programs in the nation.

In 2019, Tuskegee signed a partnership with the Ross University School of Medicine to help redress diversity shortages in the medical field. Qualified Tuskegee students will automatically gain admissions into the medical school with a tuition-free first semester.[35]

In 2020, Tuskegee established a strategic partnership with the Cumberland School of Law that will allow Tuskegee students to receive a bachelor's degree and law degree in six years as opposed to the traditional seven.[36][37]


  • U.S. News & World Report places Tuskegee 3rd out of 79 Historically Black Colleges and Universities in their 2022 rankings.[38]
  • U.S. News & World Report also rated Tuskegee 20th "Best Regional College in the South" for 2021 out of 134 schools evaluated.[39]
  • Tuskegee is ranked 109th among 614 master's universities (which award a significant number of master's degrees but few or no doctoral degrees) in the U.S. according to the Washington Monthly 2020 rankings, which rate schools' contribution to the public good as measured by social mobility, research, and promoting public service.[40]

National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care[edit]

National Center for Bioethics in Research and Health Care is the nation's first bioethics center devoted to engaging the sciences, humanities, law and religious faiths in the exploration of the core moral issues which underlie research and medical treatment of African Americans and other under-served people. The official launching of the Center took place two years after President Bill Clinton's apology to the nation, the survivors of the Syphilis Study, Tuskegee University, and Tuskegee/Macon County, Alabama for the U.S. Public Health Service medical experiment (1932–1972), where 399 poor—and mostly illiterate—African American sharecroppers became part of a study on non-treating and natural history of syphilis.[41] The center houses the Bioethics Honors Program available to undergraduate students interested in bioethics.[42]


Tuskegee is a member of the National Collegiate Athletic Association (NCAA) Division II and competes within the Southern Intercollegiate Athletic Conference (SIAC). The university has a total of 10 varsity sports teams, five men's teams called the "Golden Tigers", and five women's teams called the "Tigerettes".

Tuskegee's Men's Basketball won the 2014 SIAC Championship and the 2014 NCAA Division South Region Championship. The Golden Tigers also made it to the Elite Eight during the 2014 NCAA Men's Division II basketball tournament. Tuskegee's Women's Softball won the 2014 SIAC Championship.

The Tuskegee Department of Athletics sponsors the following sports:


Tuskegee University's historic Cleveland Leigh Abbott Memorial Alumni Stadium, completed 1924. The stadium was the first of its kind to be built at any HBCU in the south.

The Tuskegee University football team has won 29 SIAC championships (the most in SIAC history). As of 2013 the Golden Tigers continue to be the most successful HBCU with 652 wins.

In 2013 Tuskegee opted not to renew its contract to face rival Alabama State University (Division I FCS) in the Turkey Day Classic, the oldest black college football classic in the country. Instead, after going 10–2 the Golden Tigers made their first playoff appearance in school history for the 2013 NCAA Division II Football Championship, for which they had qualified in the past but could not participate due to the Turkey Day Classic. Tuskegee competed against the University of North Alabama in the first round of the playoffs, but lost 30–27. Tuskegee won the 2014 SIAC Football Championship and advanced to the first round of the NCAA Division II football playoffs with a loss of 20–17 to University of West Georgia.


The baseball program has won thirteen SIAC championships and has produced several professional players, including big-leaguers Leon Wagner, Ken Howell, Alan Mills and Roy Lee Jackson.


Tuskegee won the 2013–14 SIAC Championship and advanced to the 2014 NCAA Division II men's basketball tournament. Tuskegee won the NCAA Division II South Regional Championship by defeating Delta State University 80–59. The Golden Tigers fell to No. 1-ranked Metro State (Metropolitan State University of Denver), 106–87, in the Elite Eight of the NCAA Division II tournament at Ford Center, in Evansville, Indiana.

Track and field[edit]

Track began (Men and Women) at Tuskegee in 1916. The first Tuskegee Relays and Meet was held on May 7, 1927; it was the oldest African American relay meet.

The Tuskegee women's team won the championship of the Amateur Athletic Union national senior outdoor meet for all athletes 14 times in 1937–1942 and 1944–1951. The team likewise won the AAU national indoor championship four times in 1941, 1945, 1946 and 1948.[43]

Tuskegee's Alice Coachman was the first African American woman to win an Olympic gold medal in any sport, at the 1948 Olympic Games in London. Iram Lewis, a Tuskegee graduate of architecture, is an Olympian relay runner who competed for the Bahamas.

The Marching Crimson Piper Band[edit]

The Marching Crimson Piper Band (MCP) is one of the oldest HBCU marching bands in the nation being founded in 1883. Since its inception, the band has performed at TU athletic events, nationally televised shows, NFL games, the Honda Battle of the Bands, Mardi Gras parades, and many other notable events. MCP is accompanied by the Crimson Piperettes (danceline) and Twirling Divas.[44]

Notable faculty and staff[edit]

Name Department Notability Reference
J. Pius Barbour Theology
Executive director of the National Baptist Association, editor of the National Baptist Voice, mentor to Martin Luther King Jr. [45]
C. M. Battey Photography
photographer who made portraits of many black leaders and shot covers for The Crisis magazine
George Ruffin Bridgeforth Agriculture
director of agricultural operations and instruction at Tuskegee, first Black graduate from the University of Massachusetts Amherst (1901), feuded with George Washington Carver at Tuskegee [46]
James Nathan Calloway Agriculture Established the Institute's Tuskegee-Togo Cotton Scheme [47]
Nathaniel Oglesby Calloway Chemistry 1930 Iowa State University alumni, first African-American to receive PhD
George Washington Carver African American scientist, botanist, educator, and inventor whose studies and teaching revolutionized agriculture in the Southern United States
Louis Edwin Fry Sr. Architecture
architect and professor; appointed as the first chair of the architecture department at Tuskegee Institute, a newly formed department [48]
P. H. Polk Photography
photographer who documented working class African Americans, ex-slaves, and black leaders; also served as the institute's official photographer for four decades.
William Augustus Hazel Architecture Architect, stained glass artist, educator, academic administrator, and civil rights activist [49]
G. David Houston Professor of English at Howard University
General Daniel "Chappie" James fighter pilot in the U.S. Air Force, who in 1975 became the first African American to reach the rank of four-star General
Ruth Logan Roberts Physical education Suffragist, YWCA leader on national level, activist for social and women's health issues, and host of a salon in Harlem [50]
Lamina Sankoh early Sierra Leonean nationalist politician who taught at Tuskegee in the late 1920s
Robert Robinson Taylor Trades Department first African American graduate of MIT, architect for most of the Tuskegee campus buildings and founder of trades programs, served as second in command to Tuskegee's founder and first president, Dr. Booker T. Washington [51]
Andrew P. Torrence President of Tennessee State University (1968-1974); executive vice president and provost of Tuskegee University (1974-1980) [52]
Booker T. Washington Appointed President
first principal of the university [53]
Josephine Turpin Washington Mathematics 1886 Howard University alumni, early writer on civil rights topics [54]
Deborah Wolfe Education 1937 New Jersey City University alumni, 1938 and 1945 Columbia University alumni, esteemed educator and minister, Education Chief of the United States House of Representatives Committee on Education and Labor [55]
Donald F. White Architecture
Canadian-born American architect and engineer, of African descent. He was the first Black architect registered in the states of Alabama (in 1935) and Michigan (in 1939). [56]

Notable alumni[edit]

Name Class year Notability Reference(s)
Chalmers Archer 1972 author of "Growing Up Black in Mississippi" and "Green Berets in the Vanguard"
Claude Albert Barnett 1906 Founder of the Associated Negro Press [57]
Chokwe Antar Lumumba 2005 53rd mayor of Jackson, Mississippi [58]
Robert Beck 1970s writer known as Iceberg Slim
Bradford Bennett Negro League outfielder/second baseman [59]
Charles Sumner Bowman 1898 Architect, educator and director at Western University [60]
Amelia Boynton Robinson 1927 international civil and human rights activist, the first woman from Alabama to run for United States Congress in 1964 (affectionately known as "Queen Mother Amelia"), best known for her role in the "Bloody Sunday" event in Selma, Alabama on March 7, 1965
Albert Grant Brown Architect and educator at West Virginia Colored Institute (now West Virginia State University) [61]
William A. Campbell 1937 a member of the Tuskegee Airmen who rose to the rank of Colonel
Charles William Carpenter 1909 Baptist minister and civil rights activist
Carl Henry Clerk 1925 Gold Coast educator, administrator, journalist, editor, Presbyterian minister and fourth Synod Clerk, Presbyterian Church of the Gold Coast
Alice Marie Coachman 1942 athlete who specialized in high jump, and was the first black woman to win an Olympic gold medal
The Commodores 70s R&B band whose members met while attending Tuskegee
George Williamson Crawford lawyer and city official in New Haven, Connecticut [62]
Leon Crenshaw former NFL player
General Oliver W. Dillard retired Army major general, Silver Star recipient in Korea – 1950
Milton C. Davis 1971 lawyer who researched and advocated for the pardon of Clarence Norris, the last surviving Scottsboro Boy
Cecile Hoover Edwards B.A. 1946, M.A. 1947 Nutritional researcher and government consultant [63]
Ralph Ellison scholar, author of Invisible Man
Chauncey Eskridge 1939 lawyer for Martin Luther King Jr. and Muhammad Ali [64]
Vera King Farris 1959 President of Richard Stockton College of New Jersey from 1983–2003 [65]
Isaac Fisher 1898 educator, taught at Hampton University and Fisk University
Drayton Florence 2003 NFL defensive back
Lovett Fort-Whiteman political activist and Comintern functionary [66]
Manet Harrison Fowler 1913 singer, founder of Mwalimu School in Harlem, president of Texas Association of Negro Musicians
Alexander N. Green U.S. Representative from Texas's 9th congressional district
Winston C. Hackett First African-American physician in Arizona [67][68]
Ken Howell 1982 former Major League Baseball pitcher
Charlotte Moton Hubbard 1931 first black woman to serve as a deputy assistant secretary of state in the U.S. [69]
Marvalene Hughes president of Dillard University
General Daniel "Chappie" James 1942 US Air Force Fighter pilot, in 1975 became the first African American to reach the rank of four-star General
Lonnie Johnson (inventor) inventor of the Super Soaker, former NASA aerospace engineer
Ken Jordan former NFL player
Tom Joyner 1971 radio host whose daily program, The Tom Joyner Morning Show, was syndicated across the United States and heard by over 10 million radio listeners.
John A. Lankford 20th century architect
Marion Mann 1940 former dean of the College of Medicine at Howard University and US Army Brigadier General (retired)
Claude McKay 1912 Jamaican writer and poet, Harlem Renaissance
Marilyn Mosby 2002 State's Attorney in Baltimore, MD
Albert Murray 1939 literary and jazz critic, novelist, and biographer
Ray Nagin 1978 former mayor of New Orleans, Louisiana
Dimitri Patterson NFL player
Dr. Ptolemy A. Reid 1955 Prime Minister of Guyana (1980–1984)
Rich Boy Rapper
Lionel Richie 1974 R&B singer, Grammy Award winner [70]
Lawrence E. Roberts a member of the Tuskegee Airmen and a colonel in The United States Air Force
John Robinson (aviator) early aviator and colonel in the Imperial Ethiopian Air Force against Fascist Italy during WWII
George C. Royal 1943 microbiologist who is currently professor emeritus at Howard University
Roderick Royal president of the Birmingham City Council
Jessica A. Scoffield 2002 microbiologist and professor at the University of Alabama at Birmingham [71]
Betty Shabazz wife of Malcolm X
Jake Simmons Jr. 1919 oil broker and civil rights advocate
Roscoe Simmons 1899 columnist for the Chicago Tribune
Danielle Spencer television actress best known as Dee from the 1970s TV show What's Happening!!
McCants Stewart 1896 lawyer, first African American to practice law in Oregon
William Townsend 1941 optometrist, Arkansas state legislator [72]
Frank Walker NFL defensive back
Keenen Ivory Wayans actor, comedian, and television producer
Alfreda Johnson Webb 1943 First African-American woman in the North Carolina General Assembly (1972) [73]
Jack Whitten abstract painter
Dr. David Wilson president of Morgan State University
Roosevelt Williams (gridiron football) 2000 former NFL player for the Chicago Bears, Cleveland Browns, New York Jets
Ken Woodard former NFL player
Edward Woolridge Negro League infielder [74]
Elizabeth Evelyn Wright educator and humanitarian, founder of Voorhees College

See also[edit]


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Further reading[edit]

  • Brandon, Dwayne T., Lydia A. Isaac, and Thomas A. LaVeist. "The legacy of Tuskegee and trust in medical care: is Tuskegee responsible for race differences in mistrust of medical care?." Journal of the National Medical Association 97, no. 7 (2005): 951.
  • Tim Brooks, Lost Sounds: Blacks and the Birth of the Recording Industry, 1890-1919, 320–327. University of Illinois Press, 2004. Early recordings by the Tuskegee Institute Singers.
  • Brown, M. Christopher. "The politics of industrial education: Booker T. Washington and Tuskegee State Normal School, 1880-1915." The Negro Educational Review 50, no. 3 (1999): 123.
  • Buckley, Ingrid A., and Hira Narang. "A Study: Exploring the Feasibility of Developing a Computer Science Online Degree Program at Tuskegee University." Higher Education Studies 4, no. 3 (2014): 48–57.
  • Chandler, Dana R. "Lifting the veil: digitizing Black archives at Tuskegee University." The Public Historian 40, no. 3 (2018): 232–251.
  • Jones, Brian. The Tuskegee Student Uprising: A History. Vol. 2. NYU Press, 2022.
  • Jones, Brian P. The Tuskegee Revolt: Student Activism, Black Power, and the Legacy of Booker T. Washington. City University of New York, 2018.
  • Mayes, McKinley. "Status of agricultural research programs at 1890 land-grant institutions and Tuskegee University." In A Century of Service, pp. 53–58. Routledge, 2017.
  • Sodeke, Stephen Olufemi, and Lauren R. Powell. "Paying tribute to Henrietta lacks at Tuskegee University and at the Virginia Henrietta lacks commission, Richmond, Virginia." Journal of health care for the poor and underserved 30, no. 4 Suppl (2019): 1.
  • Sodeke, Stephen Olufemi. "Tuskegee University experience challenges conventional wisdom: is integrative bioethics practice the new ethics for the public's health?." Journal of Health Care for the Poor and Underserved 23, no. 4 0 (2012): 15.

External links[edit]