Date of Award


Document Type


Degree Name

Master of Arts



First Advisor

Dr. Robert C. Kenzer

Second Advisor

Dr. John D. Treadway

Third Advisor

Dr. Matthew Basso


The Jamestown Tercentennial Exposition of 1907 invited the United States and the world to display their progress in a way befitting the dawn of a new century. Though this exposition fell short of matching the notoriety of other Victorian fairs, African- Americans successfully presented their advancement and historic contributions to American society, despite the shortcomings of the exposition itself and the dismal state of the nation's race relations. Black organizers at Jamestown underscored the rise of their people by maintaining firm control over the entire "Negro" exhibit, an achievement viewed as untenable at earlier fairs. Records of the United States Tercentennial Commission, correspondence of the principal actors, publications produced by the Jamestown Tercentennial Company and its reviewers, and newspaper stories from both the white and black press evidence the many obstacles overcome to prepare the exhibit. This thesis concludes that the commitment of dynamic leaders, particularly Giles B. Jackson and Thomas J. Calloway, assured African-American success at Jamestown. Moreover, their adherence to the philosophy of Booker T. Washington produced remarkable white support while raising vocal critics within the black community.

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