Special Houses, 1910-1930

The home of Mr. and Mrs. Singleton at 411 E. State Street was one of several places African-American students lived while studying at Cornell in the teens and twenties. The Singletons rented rooms to both women and men. For many, 411 E. State Street offered a comfortable, home-like living arrangement.

Evie Lee Carpenter Spencer ’18 kept pictures of the Singleton family, and she and Adelaide Cook Daly ’18, who also lived in the house, stayed in touch with each other throughout their lives. Most of their closest friends were other African-American students at Cornell.

Even after she graduated and moved away, Evie Lee still felt very much part of Cornell. She valued the training she received and maintained “very warm feelings” for Cornell. She was delighted to attend her 50th class reunion in 1968.

Photograph of Evie Lee Carpenter Spencer ’18, ca. 1914-1918.

Evie Lee Carpenter Spencer ’18 learned of Cornell from a grade school teacher in Manassas, VA, who was a graduate of Cornell. From that point, she determined that she would attend Cornell.

Spencer received a scholarship from Emily Howland and her niece Isabel Howland, two white women who were active in the struggle to extend the right to vote to people of color.

Mrs. Annie Singleton (center).

Also pictured are Adelaide Cook Daly ’18 (left) and Evie Lee Carpenter Spencer ’18 (right).

Exterior of 411 East State Street from Alpha Phi Alpha, Alpha Chapter miscellany, #37\4\2509. Division of Rare and Manuscript Collections, Cornell University Library.

Interior view of the Singletons’ residence, 411 East State Street.

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