Teaser 16 - The Tuskegee Institute

In the Steamscapes world, we have fast-forwarded one of the more transformative events of the 19th century: the founding of the Tuskegee Normal Institute. In real history, this institution was founded by Booker T. Washington and was enormously important in the advancement of African-American education. However, since the school is being founded twelve years earlier than its real-life founding date of 1881, Mr. Washington is still a youth of 13. George Washington Carver, who would later head the Agriculture department at Tuskegee, is only 5. In our alternate history we needed a different impetus for the creation of such a school. As is often the case, the force that drives this social and educational innovation is a military need. And so it is Ulysses S. Grant, the first president of the American Consolidated Union, who develops the idea as part of his sweeping military reforms. As you can see, this also results in the creation of the Tuskegee Airmen seventy years early. From the book:

One of President Grant's first innovative military decisions was designed as a way to offer reconciliation and opportunity to freed slaves while accelerating the ACU's technology race. Grant had seen firsthand the effectiveness of airborne scouts and spotters during the war. He knew that air power represented an important new mode of communication and transport, but finding crews for airships was very difficult. German airmen were common in Europe, where zeppelins were quickly becoming a battlefield standard, but American soldiers were not as confident about this new technology. In 1869, he opened the Tuskegee Normal and Aeronautical Institute to educate black men in a wide variety of trades but particularly Aviation.