(Left Video): Storer College Commencement Exercises, June 3, 1946, on the Camp Hill campus in Harpers Ferry, West Virginia. The film includes the procession of graduates, the college choir, and faculty into Anthony Memorial Hall and candid footage of graduates, families and faculty after the ceremony.
Storer College's educational mission progressed from its beginning as a mission school to its development to a four year college. It was noted for its academic rigor, successful athletic teams and talented musical ensembles. Teacher training, industrial arts, religious studies and demanding scientific courses were part of the specialized educational programs that made Storer College a stand-out educational institution. The quality of “self-dependence” was a foundation of the educational mission. Students were instilled with the ability to rely and build on their own strengths. That skill served many graduates well and solidified Storer’s reputation.
Storer’s standing as a leading educational institution for African-Americans made it a logical place for the second meeting of the Niagara Movement, the predecessor of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP.) In 1906, the campus hosted the Niagara group that included civil rights activist, W.E.B. Du Bois and attorney J.R. Clifford, a Storer graduate and West Virginia’s first African-American attorney. At this historic meeting, Du Bois called for an end to illiteracy and discriminatory practices in public accommodations. Three years later, the NAACP was officially formed to carry on this work.
Storer College students benefitted from excellent academic preparation as well as activism on their campus. Graduates went on to become teachers, lawyers, legislators, noted musicians and even the first president of Nigeria. Although Storer College closed in 1955, its legacy lives on through its graduates and their many accomplishments.