Tuskegee Institute was founded on July 4,1881 but the idea for a school for African Americans in the city of Tuskegee actually began two years prior. In 1879,
Lewis Adams was approached by W.F. Foster a Democrat running in the Alabama Senate race for his help in getting the black vote. Foster and Brooks both won their races and in return they upheld their end of the bargain by working to draft House Bill 165.
The bill allocated $2,000 to fund the salaries of teachers and free tuition for students so long as they agreed to teach in Alabama’s public schools for at least two years.
The bill also required that the school have at least 25 pupils and stay in session for at least nine months per year. The bill also created a board of commissioners to oversee the management of the school among the first three members: George W. Campbell and Lewis Adams.