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Tuskegee University is an independent and state-related institution of higher education.  Its programs serve a student body that is coeducational as well as racially, ethnically and religiously diverse.


Thomas Monroe Campbell

Thomas Monroe Campbell

The Thomas Family

Members of the Campbell family stand with Dr. Velma Blackwell (front left), and 2003 Campbell Awardees the Rev. Thomas Burrell (second from left) and Bertha M. Jones (second from right)


At Tuskegee University, the name Thomas Monroe Campbell, or T. M. Campbell as he was more commonly called, is synonymous with Cooperative Extension, in recognition of the fact that he was the first Cooperative Extension Agent in the United States and headed the first Cooperative Extension Program in the nation.

Campbell, a Field Agent for the U. S. Department of Agriculture, was appointed Farm Demonstration Agent in Macon County, Alabama, in 1906. He advanced from County Agent to State Agent in Alabama and from State Agent to Field Agent for seven southern states: Alabama, Georgia, Florida, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas and Oklahoma. As a result of the effectiveness of his work, there are now nearly 600 county and home demonstration agents working in these states.

Among his other accomplishments is an extension building on the campus of Tuskegee Institute, which is headquarters for Negro extension work in Alabama.

Campbell is author of the book, The Movable School Goes to the Negro Farmer, as well as a number of articles appearing in some of the leading journals of the nation. He received the "Harmon Award" in 1930 for his distinguished service in the field of farming and rural life.

In September 1944, he was selected as one of a committee of three to make a survey of West Africa. On January 11, 1946, a bust of T. M. Campbell was unveiled and presented to Tuskegee University in honor of his forty years of service in Extension Agriculture.

In short, Mr. Campbell is a pioneer in extension work. He is a nationally known and respected citizen - a public servant of the first rank.

These facts were the product of cooperation between the United States Government represented by Seaman A. Knapp, the State of Alabama represented by Auburn University; the private enterprise represented by the General Education Board, and Tuskegee University represented by Booker T. Washington on November 12, 1906.

FAMILY PHOTO (at right)

The Campbell family annually went to renowned Tuskegee University Photographer P.H. Polk for a family portrait. This one was taken in 1932.

Front Row (l to r):

  • Noel Campbell Mitchell, a member of the army's first class of black women. She earned a degree in food and nutrition and worked at Tuskegee's VA for 27 years before retiring in 1980.
  • Thomas M. Campbell, first Cooperative Extension Agent in the United States and headed the first Cooperative Extension Program in the nation.
  • Elizabeth Campbell Clarke, worked as a physical therapist in Riverside, Ca., for 39 years until her death in 1997.
  • Virginia Campbell Hawkins, became Miss Tuskegee Institute 1936-37 and later a physical education and civics teacher. Also as a trained nurse in New York before returning to Tuskegee with her husband photographer David Hawkins.

Back Row (l to r):

  • Bill Campbell, became one of the Tuskegee Airmen attaining the rank of Colonel in the Air Force before retiring in Seaside, Ca.
  • Carver Campbell, named after legendary scientist Dr. George Washington Carver, died in 1936 while pursuing a master's degree in agriculture at Cornell University.
  • Mrs. Anna Marie Ayers Campbell, was a head nurse at John A. Andrew Hospital in Tuskegee.
  • Thomas Campbell Jr., became a pediatrician serving the military and the Tuskegee community until his death in 1976.

Family information obtained from the University of Alabama Center for Public Television.