100-year-old Tuskegee VA hospital seeks historic landmark status
The Tuskegee Campus, a century-old institution with significant historical and cultural value, began its legacy as the Tuskegee Home, originally part of the National Home for Disabled Volunteer Soldiers system. The home-hospital, eventually comprising 27 buildings, was developed adjacent to the Tuskegee Institute (now Tuskegee University) on 464 acres with 300 acres of the property donated by the institute.
Now, it embarks on a journey toward National Historic Landmark status with recent discussions held by a National Historic Landmarks (NHL) program team to initiate the evaluation process.
Established in 1923 in Tuskegee, Alabama, the Tuskegee Campus served as a standalone hospital providing exclusive health care services to Black Veterans. At a time when racial segregation permeated American society, the campus served as a beacon of hope offering quality medical care to those who had valiantly fought for their country. Its creation marked a significant milestone in the ongoing struggle for equality and access to health care for Black Veterans.
Engaging with the community
Led by Dr. Lisa Davidson, National Park Service program manager, in collaboration with Tuskegee Engineering Service, a team embarked on the task of inspecting all qualifying buildings on the campus.
“National Historic Landmarks preserve the stories of nationally important historic events, places and people for all Americans. I’m pleased we can collaborate on a nomination for Tuskegee VA to recognize its crucial role in the care of Black veterans since its founding after World War I,” Davidson said.
The Central Alabama VA team, the NHL team, and officials from the City of Tuskegee, Macon County and Tuskegee University’s executive leadership convened to delve into the campus history, its impact on the local community and the insights of those closely associated with the institution.
The architectural features of the Tuskegee Campus further enhance its potential eligibility as a National Historic Landmark. The design of the campus complex embodies the Classical Revival style prevalent during its construction.
The grand entrance and symmetrical layout reflect the architectural ideals of the time while the buildings showcase meticulous craftsmanship and attention to detail serving as testaments to the dedication and skill of the architects and builders involved.
Designating the Tuskegee Campus as a National Historic Landmark would not only acknowledge its contributions to American history but also ensure its preservation for future generations to learn from and appreciate.
Designating the campus as a National Historic Landmark would provide a platform for educational programs and exhibits that promote a deeper understanding of the struggles and triumphs of Black Veterans in their quest for equality. By honoring the past and celebrating the strides made, we ensure that this invaluable piece of history continues to inspire future generations.
“As a symbol of resilience and progress, the Tuskegee Campus stands as a testament to the contributions of Black Veterans and their fight for equality,” said Central Alabama VA Director and CEO Amir Farooqi. “We honor the past, celebrate the strides made and ensure that this invaluable piece of history continues to inspire future generations.”