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NOW OPEN at the Legacy Museum -- an 1890 Land-Grant Exhibition

“The Gathering”

It is with great pleasure that the College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences (CAENS) at Tuskegee University collaborates with the Legacy Museum in this important exhibition commemorating the 125th Anniversary of the Second Morrill Act, which was signed August 30, 1890. The 1890 Land-Grant Institutions in the United States are planning a series of events, activities and programs to showcase, highlight and market the accomplishments and impacts of the 1890 system. The Legacy Museum is interpreting Tuskegee University’s unique responses to the Land-Grant Act of 1890 in the form of our new spectacular exhibition entitled “The Gathering.” In the Gathering,” we begin by explaining how Tuskegee University was found eligible to receive land-grant support because of its historical involvement in agricultural activities, yet was not founded or designated as land-grant under the Second Morrill Act legislation. This was instrumental to the evolution of Tuskegee University’s College of Agriculture, Environment and Nutrition Sciences and roots in Military Tactics and Mechanical Arts. We also explore those exceptional and brilliant individuals who surrounded Booker T. Washington and were instrumental in the progression of a legacy that has evolved for over 125 years.

The Morrill Acts of 1862 and 1890 brought into existence land-grant colleges or universities, designated by state legislatures or congress for support. The original mission of these institutions, as set forth in the first Morrill Act, was to teach Agriculture, Military Tactics, and the Mechanical Arts, as well as classical studies so members of the working classes could obtain a liberal practical education. The Second Morrill Act (1890) sought to extend access to higher education by providing additions endowments for all land-grants, but prohibiting distribution of money to states that made distinctions of race in admissions. However, states that provided a separate land-grant institution for blacks were eligible to receive funds. The institutions that, as a result of this act, were founded or designated the land-grant for blacks in each of the then-segregated Southern states came to be known as “the 1890 land-grants.”

The Second Morrill Act was passed as a result of economic, social, and political issues in the post-war reconstruction era. Tuskegee University was instrumental in the development of Extension within the 1890 land-grant institutions. Booker T. Washington and George Washington Carver established Extension among the 1890 institutions educating millions through research and outreach. Tuskegee University conducted extension in 28 states and abroad. Booker T. Washington’s vision towards Cooperative Extension assisted in Tuskegee University educating an entire region of farmers, making inroads and creating victories in the vital area of agriculture before the United States as a whole. This jumpstart propelled Tuskegee University on the road to global prominence, which has not abated since 1890.

The connection between Tuskegee University in 1890 and CAENS today is profound. The desire to prepare individuals to tackle rural development has not changed. However, nowadays, this preparation is not only local but encompasses regional, national and international spheres. Additionally, Tuskegee University and CAENS prepare individuals who will become professionals in areas that include agricultural science, food and nutritional sciences, biochemical and biomedical sciences, human and veterinary medicine or other health related fields, environmental policy and natural resource management. All of these areas are connected to our survival on our planet. These ideals and many more are shared and interpreted by The Legacy Museum and are made manifest by the presentation of “The Gathering.”  We encourage all to visit The Legacy Museum for a life-changing and perspective-altering experience with “The Gathering” and savor Tuskegee University’s victories.