Hampton can trace its roots back to 1863 when the Union Army used government funds to help Mary Peake, a free black woman, teach students that had escaped from slavery.
On February 11, 1960, a group of Hampton Institute students were the first in Virginia to stage a lunch counter sit-in, to protest local business' refusal to serve blacks and whites equally.
In 1984, after a nine-month study of Hampton Institute's rapid growth and development in quality of students, faculty and academic offerings, the recommendation was made to change the name to Hampton University.
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