Institute for Colored Youth Founded Timelines: Setting the Stage for Catto’s Life

The Institute for Colored Youth (ICY) was founded by Quaker Richard Humphreys as a
school providing agricultural and industrial training. By 1851, the focused changed to training African Americans to become teachers. Charles Lewis Reason became the first principal of the school, where he increased student enrollment, expanded the
library holdings and exposed the students to outstanding African American
intellectuals and leaders of that time. Ebenezer Bassett became the second principal,
following the education philosophy of Reason and further exposed the students
to leading blacks and intellectuals of the day. Both men would leave a mark on
OV Catto, along with an emerging group of young black men and women, who became
teachers in black schools across the country. In 1914, ICY (then renamed Cheyney) began offering a collegiate level degree, when it adopted a formal normal school (teacher training) curriculum.

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