Booker T. Washington speaks at first Prairie View graduation
On this day in 1897, black leader Booker T. Washington delivered the first commencement address at Prairie View Normal Institute, the future Prairie View A&M University. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, was the leading advocate of black advancement through self-help and solidarity programs in the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries. His trips to Texas included an appearance at the State Fair and visits with prominent black families such as the Covingtons of Houston and the Watsons of Dallas. Washington inspired a generation of black Texas leaders, including Emmett Jay Scott and Laurine Cecil Anderson.