John Hope, One Smart Educator   Leave a comment

John Hope, One Smart Educator

John Hope (June 2, 1868 – February 20, 1936), born in Augusta, Georgia, was an African-American educator and political activist. He was the son of James Hope, a white Scottish merchant, born in Langholm, Scotland in 1805. Arriving in New York City in 1817, he was a successful grocer in Manhattan before moving south to Augusta in 1831. John’s mother was Mary Frances Taylor, who was free-born; her mother had secured their freedom well before the Civil War.[1] Hope could have passed for white, but he was proud of his black heritage and identified with the black community.

Hope graduated from Worcester Academy in 1890 and then from Brown University in 1894. He went on to teach at Roger Williams University (Nashville, Tennessee). On December 29, 1897 he married the former Lugenia D. Burns,[2] who would become a well-known social reformer. In 1898, he became professor of Classics at Atlanta Baptist College, (now Morehouse College), a historically black college.

Hope joined W. E. B. Du Bois and William Monroe Trotter as founders of the Niagara Movement. He was also active in the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People and was considered a race leader.

Hope served as a YMCA secretary with black soldiers in France from 1918 until 1919. He organized the southern-based Commission on Interracial Cooperation, of which he became the first president.

In 1906 Hope was unanimously chosen to be president of Atlanta Baptist College, the first black to be selected[1]. In 1913 it was renamed to Morehouse College. Hope remained president until his death in 1936. In 1928, Morehouse and Spelman College became affiliated with Atlanta University, also a historically black college. At Atlanta University, Hope concentrated on building the program for graduate studies to ensure high achieving black scholars a place.[1]

In 1932, Hope received an LL.D. from Bates College.

Hope was a member of Alpha Phi Alpha fraternity. He was the Convention Speaker for the fraternity’s Silver Anniversary convention in Nashville, Tennessee.[3]

Hope’s great-great-granddaughter Leah Hope is a GA reporter for WLS-TV in Chicago. There is also a school named in his honor called John Hope College Preparatory High School, located at 5515 S. Lowe, on the South Side of Chicago, Illinois.


Posted February 15, 2012 by pennylibertygbow in Educator

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