Children holding hands in a semicircle with their caregiver
Original Author: Unknown
Created: ca. 1903
Medium: Gelatin silver photographic print

“Waiting for the kindergarten hour”

A group of young children awaiting the start of their kindergarten class stand in a semicircle with their caregiver. This circa 1903 scene took place at Hampton's Locust Street Social Settlement, which offered daycare for the children of the local Black community. Practical classes and recreational clubs were also part of the offerings provided by the Locust Street organization that was founded and managed by Janie Porter Barrett.

Northern philanthropists helped finance this settlement house in Virginia, as well as similar endeavors in other parts of the south. This photograph is mounted in an album that is part of the holdings at the Fogg Museum at Harvard University. The printed headline at the top of the page reveals the philanthropists' stated intention to teach the mores of white society to members of the Black race (here referred to as "Negroes," as they were commonly called at the turn of the twentieth century and beyond). The caption reads:

Agencies Promoting Assimilation of the Negro / Development of Social Standards Among the Negroes