Following the Civil War, the Reverend Dr. Nathan Cook Brackett established a Freewill Baptist primary school in the Lockwood House on Camp Hill. Brackett's tireless efforts to establish freedmen's schools in the area inspired a generous contribution from philanthopist John Storer of Sanford, Maine, who offered $10,000 for the establishment of a school in the South. The donation was offered on the condition that the school be open to all regardless of sex, race or religion.
On October 2, 1867, "Storer Normal School" was opened, and two years later, in December 1869, the federal government formally conveyed the Lockwood House and three other former Armory residences on Camp Hill to the school's trustees. Frederick Douglass served as a trustee of Storer College, and delivered a memorable oration on the subject of John Brown here in 1881. [Read passages from Frederick Douglass' memorable oration].
By the end of the 19th century, the promise of freedom and equality for blacks had been buried by Jim Crow laws and legal segregation. To combat these injustices, Dr. W.E.B. Du Bois and other leading African-Americans created the Niagara Movement, which held its second conference on the campus of Storer College in 1906. The Niagara Movement was a forerunner of the NAACP.
In 1954, legal segregation was finally ended by the landmark school desegregation decision handed down by the Supreme Court in Brown v. The Board of Education. The decision, however, brought an end to federal and state funding for Storer College, and a year later it closed its doors. Today the National Park Service continues the college's educational mission by using part of the old campus as a training facility.
Did You Know?
On July 14, 1896, during their first National Convention, the National League of Colored Women visited the John Brown Fort. They were the first group known to make such a pilgrimage to this site.