Picturing America’s Pastime
Hampton Normal Institute, 1894

College Days

One of our most recent photo donations is this striking image of an African-American and Native-American college baseball team from just over a hundred years ago. The original photograph was donated by Debra and Aubrey Carter. Aubrey’s grandfather, James A. Carter, is pictured in the front row, wearing a dark turtleneck. The “H.N.I.” on the players’ jerseys stands for Hampton Normal Institute, founded in 1868 in Hampton, Va. The original purpose of the college was to educate African-American and Native-American students, as can be seen by the membership of the baseball team. The school is now known as Hampton University. It’s most famous graduate was Booker T. Washington.

While the Cubs were apparently the champions of the Hampton Base Ball League of 1910-11, as yet no information has been found concerning who the other teams in the league were. Perhaps it was an intramural league, or perhaps they played other local college teams. James A. Carter is the only person in the photo we can presently identify, though research continues on the identity of the other players in the photo. If anyone has information on the players, team, or league, please contact the Museum at research@baseballhall.org. The photo was taken by Cheyne Studio, founded by Christopher E. Cheyne, who opened his studio in Hampton in 1894. More than 4,000 of his images are held at the University of Virginia.

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