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John Hope Franklin, Historian, on
Training teachers

John Hope Franklin Two things. One is what people are learning at Fisk, but also the importance of this idea of this institution training teachers, which it seems to me is a critical part of this whole picture of how black people are going to really establish themselves, that black communities need to create their own sources for teachers, and that Fisk is trying to fit this role, it seems.

Franklin : The students in those early days were learning the rudiments, and learning how to teach the rudiments of English and of mathematics and of literature and some vocational activities, like home economics and so forth. And they began to appreciate the importance of teaching to teach. That is that somehow they should learn that it’s important for them to be able to communicate what they know to others. So the teacher training becomes an important ingredient in the Fisk picture. And that will remain very important, right down into the history of the institution.

So its mission, to a considerable extent, becomes a mission of teaching teachers, teaching people to learn, and teaching people how to teach others. And there will, of course, be a buildup of this, so that in due course you’ll have a cadre of teachers who will not only be prepared to perpetuate the institution itself, but would go out then to other places and carry on there as they had at Fisk.

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