Founding of the Peabody Institute: 1857
In 1857, George Peabody founded The Peabody Institute of Music in the heart of the Mount Vernon neighborhood in Baltimore, MD. Although the Institute’s doors did not open until 1866 due to the Civil War, Peabody wrote a letter to the Board of Trustees in February of 1857 stating his intention for the Institute. He hoped Peabody would be a center for culture, art, music, and education for all of Baltimore, stating “that it shall never lend its [h]and or influence to the propagation of opinions tending to create or encourage sectional jealousies in our happy country, or which may lead to the alienation of the people of one State or Section of the Union from those of another.”
Despite this intent for inclusion stated in George Peabody’s founding letter, The Peabody Institute remained segregated for nearly 100 years after its founding, excluding African-American musicians while proclaiming a message of music for all of Baltimore.