African Americans – Photographed by Frances B. Johnston

3c23937vI was very pleasantly surprised to find so many photographs of African-Americans attending school during the late 19th century and early 20th century.  These photographs are all in the Library of Congress.

You will notice how nicely dressed the students are.

African American children and teacher in classroom studying corn and cotton, Annie Davis School, near Tuskegee, Alabama 1902

The Anne David School

Above is a photo circa 1902 of an African-American teacher and students.  The children are learning about corn and cotton.

African American schoolgirls with teacher, learning to cook on a wood stove in classroomAfrican-American girls are in class learning how to cook on a wood stove. (around 1899)  This was a necessity back then.  Today we think cooking on a wood stove is romantic.  I would love to have a wood stove like the one in the photo for my kitchen.  I love the clothes and the aprons.  I have two white vintage ceramic bowls like the one resting on the stove.

African American students in mattress-making class, Tuskegee Institute, Tuskegee, AlaAt the Tuskegee Institute African-American students are learning how to make mattresses.

Hampton Institute, Va., 1899 - Classroom scenes - laundry shopAt the Hampton Institute (now Hampton University) students learn how to do laundry.

Hampton Institute, Va., 1899 - Classroom scenes - Bible historyStudents in Bible history class at Hampton Institute

Hampton Institute, Va., 1899 - Classroom scenes - painting carriagesHampton Institute – Students painting carriages.

Hampton Institute, Va. 1899 - Classroom scenes - testintg combined draught of animalsStudents performing tests at Hampton Institute

Hampton Institute, Va. - studying WhittierStudents studying Whittier at Hampton

Hampton Institute, Va. - Plant study labStudents in the lab studying plants at Hampton.

Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va., ca. 1898 - field trip to marsh - studying soil formation by quiet water and plantsHampton students on a field trip studying soil formation.

Hampton Institute, Va. - Indian orchestraThe American Indian orchestra at Hampton Institute.

Hampton Institute, Va. - the bandThe African-American band at Hampton.

Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va., 1899 - male and female African American and Indian students in Ancient History class studying EgyptAfrican-Americans and American Indians studying ancient Egyptian history at Hampton.

Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va. - teacher and five students studying insects in the laboratoryHampton students studying insects.

Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va. - nine students and teacher in drawing classHampton students studying drawing.

Four young men mixing fertilizers, Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va.Young men mixing fertilizer at Hampton.

Formal class in liberal arts and sciences Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va. - writing on blackboard reads  -clay modelingLiberal arts and sciences class at Hampton.

Five men making butter in a class at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va.Students in class making butter at Hampton.

American Indian and African American students at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va., 1900 - men using machinery in woodworking shopHampton students learning how to use machinery.  The students are African-American and American Indians.

American Indian and African American students at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va., 1900 - men plastering wallPlastering walls at Hampton.

American Indian and African American students at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va., 1900 - men and women in chemistry labHampton students in chemistry lab.

American Indian and African American students at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va. 1900 - women studying human respiratory systemHampton female students learning about the human respiratory system.

American Indian and African American students at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va. 1900 - men in carpentry workshopMale students in carpentry workshop at Hampton.

American Indian and African American students at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va. 1900 - men and women learning how to plow fieldHampton students learning how to plow a field.

African-American women weaving rug in home economics class at Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va.Home economics class at Hampton.

Hampton Institute, Va. - a graduate (dining) at homeHampton students graduation dinner

Hampton Institute, Hampton, Va. - before entering school - seven Indian children of uneducated parentsAmerican Indian children before they would be entering Hampton Institute.  Their parents were uneducated.

African American schoolgirls in classroom, learning to sewAfrican-American girls learning to sew in school.

I know that I am “dating” myself, but I do remember being in second grade and my class looking very much like this one.  I attended a school that was around for many years.   The classrooms were huge and the floors were wood planks just the same as in this photo.  The blackboard took up the front and one wall on the side.  On the other side were humongous windows.  Those old-time desks were still in all the classrooms, but, of course, we were no longer using the round indentation on the upper right side of the desk.  That was the inkwell that students used to dip their pens in.   The chairs were not comfortable at all.  I am really glad that I came along just in time to see and experience in real life what school classrooms were like in the 19th century.

African American school children at work on a craft projectgirls working on a craft project in class.

African American school children and teacher, studying leaves out of doorsstudents on a field trip outdoors studying leaves.

African American school children facing the Horatio Greenough statue of George Washington at the U.S. CapitolAfrican-American students on a field trip standing in front of the Horatio Hornblower statue.

Andrew Carnegie at the 25th anniversary of the Tuskegee InstituteAndrew Carnegie at the 25th anniversary of Tuskegee Institute.

Old African American couple eating at the table by fireplace, rural VirginiaAn older couple eating dinner in front the fireplace in their home in rural Virgina.  This is living in poverty in late 19th century.  I sure love that fireplace and the wood floors.  I wonder what this couple was thinking as Frances Benjamin Johnston took this picture.   Who are they?  What was their day-to-day life like?  Who are their descendents today?

Self_Portrait_by_Frances_Benjamin_Johnston_1905

Frances Benjamin Johnston in 1905

All photos were taken by Frances Benjamin Johnston (1864 -1952)

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