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How to Use the Images


Inquiry Question

Historical Context



Photo 2 & Illustration 1
Photos 3 & 4
Photo 5


Table of

Visual Evidence

Photo 1: Shaw Medical School student body, including the first graduating class, 1886. [Photo 1] with link to larger version of photo.
(Courtesy of the Pope House Museum Foundation, Raleigh, NC)

Historians think that Dr. Manassa T. Pope is located on the 2nd full row, 3rd from the left. Shaw University's Leonard Medical School, which historically is an African-American school, was the first four-year medical college in North Carolina. Dr. Pope was a member of its first graduating class. At the graduation ceremony in 1886, senior Lawson Andrew Scruggs delivered these comments: "The colored man must go forward, he must harness himself for battle, and we who stand before you tonight, are pioneers of the medical profession of our race."¹

Questions for Photo 1

1. It is noted in the caption above that historians believe they know the location of Pope in the photo, but are not certain. Can you think of some reasons why it might be difficult to use historic photographs as evidence? Why might it be important for you and your family to label and organize your photo collection?

2. What do you think Lawson Scruggs meant when he said that African-American men, and in particular successful, educated men, must "harness themselves for battle?" How does this comment relate to the Du Bois quote about the "Talented Tenth?"

3. What do you see hanging on the wall in the background? Why do you think this backdrop was selected?

4. Why is this photograph significant for both the black community at the time it was taken and to history in general?

¹ Leonard Andrew Scruggs, "Medical Education as a Factor in the Elevation of the Colored Race," African Expositor 9 (April 1886): 3.

* The image on this screen has a resolution of 72 dots per inch (dpi), and therefore will print poorly. You can obtain a larger version of Photo 1, but be aware that the file will take as much as 40 seconds to load with a 28.8K modem.



Comments or Questions

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