Tuesday, February 2, 2016

Two Distinguished Educators

From the New Farmers of America guidebook, 1963.

In an earlier post, I discussed my relative Harvey Owen Sargent who was at Auburn from 1896-1901 (or so), earning bachelor's and master's degrees.  He later got a Ph.D. at George Washington. In 1917, he was placed in charge of vocational training in agriculture for "Negro schools" and traveled around the south.  In 1935, he cofounded a national organization for black agriculture students based on the New Farmers of Virginia.  That's a pretty big legacy for anyone, even more remarkable for someone whose father fought for the Confederacy.

The New Farmers of America merged with the FFA in 1965.  In 1969, the H. O. Sargent trophy was reinstated to reward people who promote diversity in agriculture.  He is listed in the Dictionary of Alabama Biography.

I feel like there are two kinds of family history.  One you learn from stories you hear from your parents, grandparents, aunts and uncles.  And the other has been forgotten by your family but is waiting to be rediscovered.  That's why I am always excited to run across tidbits of interesting family connections and accomplishments.

1904 Alabama football squad.  One of these guys is R. E. Tidwell.
A photo of a painting of Dr. Tidwell.

And since my brother asked me recently if we had any relatives at Alabama, Harvey O. Sargent's brother-in-law, Robert Earl Tidwell (1883-1977, wife of Harvey's sister Bessie Brigham Sargent), had several things in common with Harvey.  He was also a football pioneer in the state, playing for the Alabama 1904-05 squad (not sure if that means one year or two).  And not only that, he went on to a distinguished educational career, becoming State Superintendent for Education, U. of Alabama Dean for Extension, and even served as consultant to Iraq's minister of education.  He was also involved in education for African Americans as assistant to the president of Stillman College.

Bessie Brigham SARGENT Tidwell (1879-1928)

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