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From Hawai‘i to Hampton

From Hawai‘i to Hampton

Samuel Armstrong and the Unlikely Origins of Folklore Studies at the Hampton Institute

(p.46) 2 From Hawai‘i to Hampton
Black Folklore and the Politics of Racial Representation
Shirley Moody-Turner
University Press of Mississippi

Chapter two reconstructions the origins of black folklore studies at the Hampton Institute, with the first folklore collections conducted in 1878 under the auspices of Samuel Armstrong, the Institute’s founder, and later reinvigorated by Alice Bacon and carried out by the Hampton Folklore Society (1893-1900). This chapter posits the influential role Armstrong played in establishing a reformist/assimilationist agenda for black folklore studies, expanding this context to consider the relationship between Armstrong’s early missionary work in Hawaii and his later visions for folklore studies at Hampton. The second half of the chapter considers how the Hampton Folklore Society, under Bacon’s direction, became a site where the larger community, both black and white, engaged in dialogue and debate about the meaning and significance of black folklore.

Keywords:   Samuel Armstrong, Alice Bacon, Hampton Institute, Hampton Folklore Society, Hawaii

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