While distinguished African Americans of an earlier generation, like Frederick Douglass, Booker T. Washington, and W. E. B. DuBois, served as mentors and models for young African Americans pursuing degrees at institutions like the University of Chicago, patrons both inside the University and out were also important to the success of these students.
As we have seen (see Future Intellectuals: Ernest Everett Just section), faculty in the department of zoology, like Warden Clyde Allee and Frank Lillie, were unusually supportive of African American students. In the Social Sciences, sociologist Robert Park and anthropologist Robert Redfield trained large numbers of African American students. And in the Humanities, the Chairman of the English Department, John M. Manly, was especially supportive of Lorenzo Dow Turner while Martin Schütze of the German Department went out of his way to support Georgiana Simpson’s professional development.
In addition to these academic patrons, many of these students were supported financially by Julius Rosenwald through his Rosenwald Fellows Program. Just and Dunham were only two of the many fellows supported by this program designed to foster artistic and intellectual creativity.
Similarly, Rosenwald’s philanthropic efforts were critical to the success of Carter Woodson’s institution building projects.