Black On Campus
Higher Education and the African American Experience

A Beautiful Black Mind: Octavia V. Rogers Albert

February 17th, 2012 by Ajuan Mance


Octavia V. Albert (c. 1853- 1890)

Octavia Victoria Rogers Albert was born into slavery in Oglethorpe, Georgia around 1853. ┬áIn 1870, she enrolled at Atlanta University, and by 1873 she was working as a teacher in Montezuma, Georgia. There she was courted by fellow teacher A.E.P. Albert, and the two were married in 1874. In the 1880s her husband’s duties as an ordained minister in the Methodist Episcopal Church took the family to Houma, Louisiana where, drawing on her deep Christian faith as well as the model set forth by her childhood minister, the political activist and former Congressman Bishop Henry H. Turner, she devoted her life to serving the local popula. Mrs. Albert frequently opened her home to the members of the rural community of former slaves and their families, listening to and recording their recollections of antebellum life. Eventually these sketches and stories would become The House of Bondage, a collection stories representing the memories of Houma, Louisiana’s ex-slaves. The book was published in 1890, shortly after Albert’s death. Albert’s stated goal in creating this volume was to “correct and to create history”; and the harrowing stories of the more than one dozen former slaves portrayed in her book serve as a powerful challenge to the revisionist nostalgia of the period’s more dominant plantation tradition.

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