Thirty-sixth annual commencement: “Do not lose faith.”

Robert Russa Moton assumed the helm as president of Tuskegee Institute after Booker T. Washington‘s death. The first commencement over which Moton presided took place on 26 May 1917. Among the candidates for diplomas and certificates presented by Emmett Scott were Daniel Elijah Freeman (1896-1972) of Wilson, son of Julius and Eliza Daniels Freeman, and Benjamin Amos Harris (1894-1955) of Stantonsburg, son of Edward and Bettie Daniels Harris. Daniel and Benjamin were first cousins once removed (Bettie Daniels’ mother Millicent Daniels Daniels was Eliza Daniels Freeman’s sister) and were encouraged to attend Tuskegee by Daniel’s older brothers, O. Nestus Freeman, Julius F. Freeman Jr. and Ernest Freeman.

NYA 6 7 1917 Tuskegee

New York Age, 7 June 1917.


  1. The name Daniel Elijah Freeman (1896-1972) has an incorrect middle name; his middle name was actually Edward; sometimes he unofficially utilized the name Daniel E’Quard Freeman.

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