One hundred and one years ago, Dr. Booker T. Washington (1856-1915), an African-American educator, author, and activist, came to speak at Oregon Agricultural College (O.A.C.) on March 19, 1913.
The appearance of Dr. Washington at O.A.C. was the last of a series by the Citizen’s Lyceum Course, run by the Corvallis Lyceum Committee. The Citizen’s Lyceum was open to any Corvallis resident, though it appears that it may have been geared toward students. Although the course was primarily for entertainment, lectures were also included in the line-up and were a big draw.
The Lyceum Club met in the Presbyterian Church and had five scheduled “entertainments” for the 1912-1913 academic year:
October 31 – Fellow’s Grand Opera Company
December 4 – William Sterling Battis (“Dickens Interpreter”) in “An Evening with Dickens”
January 30 – Neil Litchfield Trio, Music and Comedy
February 4 – Carmen Italian Orchestra
February 20 – Lecture “The South, It’s Destruction and Reconstruction” by former-Gov. Robert B. Glenn of North Carolina
The Lyceum had three bonus “entertainments”:
Date unknown, content unknown
February 26 – Byron Troubadours, a Hawaiian music group
March 19 – Dr. Booker T. Washington
For Dr. Washington’s lecture, he spoke on the condition that admittance would be at no cost to students. Due to the popularity of the speaker, the venue switched from the Presbyterian church, home to the other Lyceum events, to the college’s gymnasium. 1500 spectators crowded into the 1300-seat gymnasium to hear him speak.
The research process to learn more about this event included viewing every page in The O.A.C. Barometer from September 25, 1912 through March 21 1913. Articles for Dr. Washington’s lecture included an advertisement and a follow-up story in the Barometer.
Below are 5 articles from the Barometer about Lyceum Course events, including Dr. Washington’s lecture:
October 9, 1912 ~ Article describing the Lyceum Course Events for 1912-1913
January 25, 1913 ~ Advertisement regarding the Neil Litchfield Trio performance
February 21, 1913 ~ Advertisement regarding the Byron Troubadours concert
March 18, 1913 ~ Advertisement for Dr. Washington lecture
March 21, 1913 ~ Follow-up article regarding Dr. Washington’s lecture