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Piece of Pahoehoe

Richard and Clarissa Armstrong were with the Fifth Company of American Protestant missionaries to the Islands. One of them was Samuel Chapman Armstrong. “More than 100 people from Hawai‘i fought on both sides of the Civil War. Arguably the most famous was the Union general Samuel C Armstrong.” (NY Times) In the Civil War, Armstrong led the 9th Regiment, United States Colored Troops (USCT) in late 1863, then the 8th US Colored Troops when its previous commander was disabled from wounds. Armstrong’s experiences with these regiments aroused his interest in the welfare of black Americans. When Armstrong was assigned to command the USCT, training was conducted at Camp Stanton near Benedict, Maryland. While stationed at Stanton, he established a school to educate the black soldiers, most of whom had no education as slaves. At the end of the war, Armstrong joined the Freedmen’s Bureau.

With the help of the American Missionary Association, he established the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute – now known as Hampton University – in Hampton, Virginia in 1868. The Institute was meant to be a place where black students could receive post-secondary education to become teachers, as well as training in useful job skills while paying for their education through manual labor. “‘Education for Life,’ (was) the constant theme of Armstrong’s teaching, essential though it be to secure to thousands of young men and women their self-support, is not an end in itself, but a means.” (Peabody) Samuel Chapman Armstrong died May 11, 1893. The Islands were at the grave of Armstrong … “At its head was set a huge fragment of volcanic rock, laboriously brought from his island-home in the Pacific, and at its foot a quartz boulder hewn from the Berkshire Hills, where he had been trained. … The monument is a witness of the character it commemorates, volcanic in temperament, granitic in persistency; a life of self-destructive energy, like a mountain on fire, but with the steadiness and strength of one who had lifted up his eyes to the hills and found help.”

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Armstrong and Booker T

Samuel C Armstrong, the son of missionaries, volunteered to serve in the Union Army during the American Civil War, and recruited a company near Troy, New York. Armstrong rose to the rank of lieutenant colonel, and commanded the 9th Regiment, United States Colored Troops (USCT) in late 1863. At the end of the war, Armstrong joined the Freedmen’s Bureau. With the help of the American Missionary Association, he established the Hampton Normal and Agricultural Institute – now known as Hampton University – in Hampton, Virginia in 1868.

Hampton University’s most notable alumni is Booker T Washington. After coming to Hampton Institute in 1872, Washington immediately began to adopt Armstrong’s teaching and philosophy. Washington described Armstrong as “the most perfect specimen of man, physically, mentally and spiritually the most Christ-like….” The founders of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute, a new black college in Alabama, asked Armstrong to recommend a white man who could head the school. Armstrong suggested Washington instead. The institute would become a fundamental part of Washington’s legacy.

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Missionary, Educator … Former Slave

“Here begins the history of things known only to those who have bid the American shores a long adieu….” Betsey Stockton was born into slavery; she was given books and was allowed to attend evening classes at Princeton Theological Seminary and was later freed. She was a missionary to Hawai‘i. “Two weeks after we arrived at the islands, we were sent to this place, which is considered the best part of the whole. The productions are melons, bananas, sweet potatoes, &c. (Lahaina)”

“It was there, as (Betsey said,) that she opened a school for the common people which was certainly the first of the kind in Maui and probably the first in all Hawaii; for at the beginning the missionaries were chiefly engaged in the instructions of the chiefs and their families.” Betsey Stockton set a new direction for education in the Islands. After residing in Hawaii for over two years, Betsey Stockton relocated to Cooperstown, New York.

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Richard Armstrong

By the time the Pioneer Company of American Board of Commissioners for Foreign Missions (ABCFM) Protestant missionaries arrived in 1820, Kamehameha I had died and

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