This paper will examine Union College and its institutional history, or lack of recognition of its institutional history. Union College – an elite, small, liberal arts college seated in Schenectady is rich in a history unearthed. Alumni leave Union College with an excellent degree and go on to lead exceptional lives and take the core values of this institution at heart. Rev. Lewis Conger Lockwood, Union College Class of 1838, was one of those students. Lockwood’s genuine and admirable effort in uplifting African-Americans pales in comparison to the actions taken by Eliphalet Nott to do what he viewed as creating a better life for African-Americans. Eliphalet Nott, fourth president of Union College and longest college president in U.S. history, transformed the school – bringing it from a small school in a financial mess to a school with a weighty reputation. Yet, only one of the two men is known. Rev. Lewis C. Lockwood remains non-existent in public memory.
The goal of this project is mainly to bring light to the work of Rev. Lewis Lockwood, and how he attempted to uplift African Americans in the contrabands camp. In addition, this paper attempts to get at why Union College, and other elite liberal arts colleges with deep institutional histories, choose to remember people like Eliphalet Nott, and not Rev. Lewis Lockwood? Why do these colleges have such a hard time coming to terms with their pasts?