Saturday, March 20, 2010

Alumni Survey Response From James A. Fields

College and universities often conduct surveys of their graduates in order to determine what their alumni are doing and how effective their programs have been on the careers of their former students. General Samuel Chapman Armstrong (1839-1893) and the faculty of Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute (now Hampton University) surveyed their students who attended their school during the first 22 years of its existence which began in 1868.

The survey was conducted between 1889 and 1890 and was compiled in a book called “Twenty-two years work of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute at Hampton, Virginia.” Below is the response of Mr. James A. Fields who was part of Hampton Normal and Agriculture Institute’s first graduating class in 1871.

This book was found in the Peabody Special Collection of the William R. and Norma B. Harvey Library located on the campus of Hampton University in Hampton, VA.


James A. Fields, born in Hanover County, VA, 1844, taught 14 years in Williamsburg and Elizabeth County, VA. Has taught about 1500 pupils, over 100 of whom have become teachers. Has been engaged in Sunday School more than 20 years and is now Superintendent of 3rd Baptist Sunday School of Hampton, VA. He attended Howard University Law Department, and is now practicing law and farming in Hampton. In the Spring of 1887, he was elected Commonwealth Attorney for Warwick County, VA. In November of 1889, he was Republican Representative to the Virginia Legislature. He says “all things considered, the condition of the colored people is good; they are rapidly improving in intelligence, religion, and morals.” My property consists of mostly lots and houses which exceeds and values $6,000. I have only one child, the finest boy in Christendom.

Source: Armstrong, S. C. (Samuel Chapman), 1839-1893., Twenty-two years work of the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute at Hampton, Virginia : records of Negro and Indian graduates and ex-students ; with historical and personal sketches and testimony on important race questions from within and without, to which are added, by courtesy of Messrs Putnam's Sons, N. Y., some of the songs of the races gathered in the school, page 25.

1 comment:

Lisa Y. Henderson said...

My great-grandfather, John C. Allen Sr. (1876-1953), was an early member of Whittaker's board of directors. Born in Charles City County, he moved to Newport News circa 1895 to work as a longshoreman and eventually rose through the ranks to lead the local union. He lived in the 700 block of 21st Street in Newport News before purchasing a home in the 2100 block of Marshall Ave. I am interested in any photos of Allen that may exist in Whittaker's archives. Thank you.