At Tuskegee (1892–1897)
The Making of an Educator
From 1892 until 1897, Nathan B. Young worked alongside Booker T. Washington in building Tuskegee Institute. Young played a significant role in charting the direction that Tuskegee's academic program took, but, eventually, he and Washington came into conflict over the philosophy and direction of Tuskegee's academic department. This conflict resulted in Young's leaving Tuskegee.
Young would always regard his years of service at Tuskegee with Washington as his most “eventful and helpful” years. He considered these to be his years of preparation for his later service elsewhere: his “post-graduate years.” Here he began his teaching career in earnest, and these five years held a unique place in his heart. No place gave Young exactly the same feelings as he got on his perennial visits to Tuskegee. Even at its fiftieth anniversary in 1931, the memories of the earlier Tuskegee were still strong as Young surveyed the “most remarkable growth” of Tuskegee from “its days of small things.” In short, Young had come to Tuskegee at a formative period for him, and his experiences there would leave an enduring mark on him throughout his professional career.1
1. Young, “A Fifty Year Jaunt.” For an overview of black education see
James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935. The
economics of black education is covered in Robert A. Margo, Race and
Schooling in the South, 1880–1950: An Economic History.