To assist the African American street children he came across in Charleston, South Carolina, Rev. Daniel J. Jenkins Jenkins founded the Jenkins Orphanage in 1891.
The orphanage was a success in terms of its objective right from the start. More than 360 boys were held at the facility in just the first year. Jenkins ultimately widened the age range from 3 to 20, but the majority of the youngsters in the home were between the ages of 5 and 18.
The orphanage’s original location was at 660 King Street, but the facilities were quickly outgrown by the growing population of orphans. The orphanage relocated to the Old Marine Hospital, located at 20 Franklin Street, in 1893.
The residence received musical instrument contributions and employed local musicians to teach the young lads. There is proof that the lads mastered a variety of instruments and learned to read music. Soon after, a band featuring kids from the orphanage was formed.
They made their stage debut in Charleston before performing in President Theodore Roosevelt’s and President William Taft’s inaugural parades. They performed for audiences abroad while touring the United States and Europe.
Tom Delaney, William “Cat” Anderson, and Freddie Green are a few of the alumni who attended the Jenkins Orphanage Band who made it big time. The orphanage was provided numerous children with another chance at life, which many took advantage of by pursuing a variety of careers, including education and law. The orphanage is now a National Historic Landmark, located in North Charleston.