One of the founding fathers of Tuskegee Institute and University in Tuskegee, Alabama was Smith Mountain Lake’s own Booker T. Washington. Its first 30 students began their classes in 1881 in a dilapidated church. But that did not inhibit the spirit and passion of their teacher and principal, a one-time slave turned world changer, Booker T. Washington.
From the beginning years of its history, students at Tuskegee Institute were encouraged to express themselves in communal singing. Booker T. Washington, insisted on the singing of African American spirituals by everyone in attendance at the weekly Chapel worship services, a tradition which continues today. Further, he stated, “…If you go out to have schools of your own, have your pupils sing them as you have sung them here, and teach them to see the beauty which dwells in these songs…” Thus, the school developed and passed on a singing tradition.
We are privileged to be able to hear the voices of these marvelous singers, right here at Smith Mountain Lake. Mar 6th – Booker T. Washington Monument presents Tuskegee Golden Voices Choir to Perform – 7:00 pm at the Resurrection Catholic Church, Route 122, Moneta – Free – 540-721-2094 – www.nps.gov/bowa (Thanks to Bedford Co. Events for that info.)