Hampton Institute was founded in 1868 by Northern philanthropists in Hampton, Virginia. The school's founding principal was General Samuel Chapman Armstrong, who lead the school until his death in 1893. The school, which was neither a government nor a state school, was chartered by a special act of the General Assembly of Virginia and was controlled by a board representing both different regions of the country and various religious groups. The school's most famous graduate was Booker T. Washington.

The photographs of Hampton for the Exhibit of the American Negroes are particularly noteworthy. Taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston, one of the leading social and documentary photographers of her period, the pictures of Hampton were widely used to publicize the work of the school and its idea of intregal education, which emphasized the progressive notion of learning by doing.

Hampton was unique in that it opened its doors to Native Americans. Beginning in 1878, Native American students were brought to the school from Northern Plains tribes to be ``re-educated." Armstrong, who had been raised by missionary parents in Hawaii, promoted a curriculum which was highly colonialist in its tenor and promoted the most rapid assimilation possible.

The photographs by Frances Johnston included below are drawn from Albert Shaw's article ```Learning by Doing' at Hampton," which was published in the April 1900 issue of The American Monthly Review of Reviews, pp. 417-432. Johnston's photographs, through an historical accident, made their way to the Museum of Modern Art where they were republished in 1966 as The Hampton Album: 44 photographs by Frances B. Johnston from an album of Hampton Institute with an introduction and note on the photographer by Lincoln Kirstein (New York: The Museum of Modern Art, 1966). The images below are known to have been exhibited at Paris as part of the Exhibit of the American Negroes and were photographed directly from The American Monthly Review of Reviews. The captions are from Shaw's article.

Emphasized in Shaw's article was the role of the type of education provided at Hampton in uplifting Black culture and life. The following six images demonstrate this by contrasting old and new structures and ways of life.

An Old-Time Barn


A Model Barn with Small Silo

An Old Time Cabin

A Graduate's Home

``The Old Folks at Home"

An Educated Family at Dinner

A Class in American History

Mixing Fertilizer

Physics Class Making and Repairing Telephones

Class Studying Roots

Class in Dressmaking in the Domestic Science Building