Another Light on the Hill Black Students at Tufts

Forrester Blanchard Washington

Forrester Blanchard Washington was born in Salem, MA on September 24, 1887. His parents, John William Washington and Lucy A. Wylly, provided a life for their children that was unlike the lives of the majority of the black community in Boston at the time. John William was an artist and Lucy, although probably a housewife, had afforded a New England education. The Washingtons did not rely on agricultural or domestic work to survive and they were able to afford constant education for all their children; the lifestyle they lived was uncommon to the majority of the black community during the reconstruction era.

Growing up in Boston sheltered Forrester from the racism of the South, but it also exposed him to the ideas of strong black leaders like Booker T. Washington, W.E.B Du Bois, and William M. Trotter. Black owned weekly newspapers, like The Boston Guardian and the Boston Courant, existed during this time to bring about greater awareness of racial issues to the Boston community. Forrester Washington had a unique upbringing, he was constantly surrounded by inspiring individuals, both in his family and in the public, and countless opportunities to succeed.

He began attending Tufts College in 1905 at the age of 18. Here he pursued a classical curriculum specializing in history, economics, philosophy, physics, and chemistry. He also studied German, French, Greek and Latin. Unfortunately, there are no records of other activities he partook in during his undergraduate experience. He attained his B.A degree in 1909. In 1912, he was admitted to the Harvard graduate school with the goal of pursuing a masters in economics. However, in 1914 he left Harvard for Columbia under unknown reasons, he never completed his degree at Harvard. At Columbia he studied at the New York School of Social Work from 1915-1917, there he earned his Masters Degree in Social Economy.

After his graduation from Columbia, Washington held many leading positions in organizations like the Detroit Urban League and the National Urban League, finding employment and resources for other black men and women. Then in 1926, he became the director of the Atlanta School of Social Work, during this time he also taught classes in social work and assumed the position of president of the NAACP Atlanta chapter. His efforts in social work led to his recruitment as the director of Negro Work in FERA in 1934 and his membership to the Black Cabinet under Franklin D. Roosevelt.

Forrester Washington retired in 1953 from the Atlanta School of Social work. Upon his retirement, he moved to New York City where he continued to participate in the National Urban League until his death on August, 23 1963.


Biography researched and written by Alejandra Garcia.


Barrow, Frederica Harrison. "The Social Welfare Career and Contributions of Forrester Blanchard Washington: A Life Course Analysis." Order No. 3030937 Howard University, 2001. Ann Arbor: ProQuest. Web. 23 Mar. 2017.

Tufts College. Catalogue 1908-1909. 304

Gill, G. R. (1999) . Another "Light on the Hill" : A brief history of African-American Students at Tufts, 1900 - the present. Tufts University, Medford, MA.