In 1894, South Carolina Representative George Washington Murray
introduced a bill “to establish and maintain certain normal and industrial schools with the unclaimed money in the United States Treasury of deceased colored Union soldiers.” The only African-American Member of Congress during the 53rd Congress, Murray was a former slave known for his oratorical eloquence on the House Floor. According to the bill, $500,000 of pay was due to African-American Civil War veterans, and remained unclaimed. H.R. 7689 stated that “said money cannot be used to better advantage than to promote the cause of industrial education among the colored people of the United States.” In addition to opening new schools, the bill allotted a portion to the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial School (now Tuskegee University) in Alabama. The bill was referred to the Committee on Education, but did not proceed further.