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*On this date in 1873, Emmett J. Scott was born. He was a Black author and administrator.
From Houston, TX, he briefly attended Wiley College in Marshall, TX before starting to work as a journalist for the Houston Post in 1891. He was awarded a honorary M.A. from Wiley College in 1901. In 1894, he started his own weekly newspaper the Houston Freeman and soon after became the personal secretary for Booker T. Washington. From this position, Scott was elected secretary of Tuskegee Institute in 1912. He became widely recognized as the leader of what was to later be known as the “Tuskegee Machine,” the group of people close to Booker T. Washington who wielded influence over the Black press, churches, and schools in order to promote Washington’s views.
After Washington’s death, Scott became a special assistant to the U.S. secretary of war in charge of Negro affairs at the start of World War I. This was at a time when race relations in the military were an issue of debate and it was here where Scott became a liaison between Black soldiers and the War Department. For twenty years from 1919, he held positions as secretary, treasurer, or business manager at Howard University. He was also the father of poet Clarissa Scott Delaney. Emmett Scott died in 1957.
The Encyclopedia of African American Heritage
by Susan Altman
Copyright 1997, Facts on File, Inc. New York