History through Photos:

Industrial Education

After the Civil War, the question of how to educate over 3 million emancipated slaves was at the center of a national discourse. Many believed that African Americans needed to learn practical trades based skills to provide for themselves and eventually achieve equality.


Booker T. Washington's visit to Christiansburg Institute in 1896 proved to be a monumental event. He encouraged CI to model its program after those pioneered at the Tuskegee Institute and the Hampton Institute. The curriculum shifted from emphasizing an academic education towards a technical training. The purchase of the 185-acre farm allowed students to learn construction, agricultural skills, woodworking, blacksmithing and other industrial skills.  


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Christiansburg Institute 1866 to 1966 logo with tiger, alumni pride