Rachel Flowers (1900-1988)

In 2009, Hierald Osorto began research on the first underrepresented students to attend my alma mater, Messiah College. During the institution’s centennial celebration, Osorto presented his findings, the first being Rachel Helen Flowers ’18.

Years later, intrigued by Osorto’s concluding line, I continue research on Flowers, the first known African American student to attend Messiah College in 1916.

About me: My name is Christina and I am studying history at Messiah College. Osorto’s research inspired me to learn more about Rachel Helen Flowers. Who was she? What was life at Messiah like for her? Who did she become? Why did it take so long to learn her name? Why do we still not know her story?

Stay posted as we┬álearn and study the history of Rachel and the Flowers’ family.




8 thoughts on “Rachel Flowers (1900-1988)

  1. I have an uncanny feeling that Dr. Bernardo had a hand in this? Good luck and solid research. Wanna do a presentation for BSU??

    1. Haha not really the research was my idea, he just wants a lot of it to be digital…its this new thing the humanities department wants to do. When would you like me to present, I might not be here during the spring semester.

  2. Yes, Rachel Flowers is an interesting person for you to be researching. The conflicting dates and information are not unsual in the census, which is why other information is good. You may be able to geet more information about her civil service record and her brother’s time in the military. Can the school help you locate family members? Do you know where she was living when she died? You might find an actual person to talk to that way.

    1. Well, the school only had her school records and the civil service record. They do not know what happened to her and I guess they did not have time to find out what happened to her. I found a death record for her and she died in 1988 in Philadelphia. Hopefully I will find an actual person to talk to. I really hope so!

  3. Divorce was still uncommon then. Often “race” was determined by the person taking the cansus simply by looking and they weren’t always accurate. Some people were missed by census takers. They weren’t always very careful to include blacks.
    I’m having trouble finding my way around your blog. I hope I answer what I could.

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