John J. McCook

“John J. McCook: Clergyman, Professor, and Social Reformer of Hartford”

By Edosa Onaiwu

 

Research

Concluding from my research I was able to assume that the McCook family had no ties to slavery both in bondage and through industries that benefited from slave labor. Through my research I was able to connect the McCook family at Trinity with the famous “Fighting McCooks” whom were a famous family of generals in the Union Army. Under the command of Abraham Lincoln, the McCook soldiers fought a united nation and slaves freed from chains. This find was very important in supporting my claim that John J. McCook was not associated with slavery. Another conclusion I came to through my research was the fact that McCook raised money for Trinity only to induce school spirit and prolong the colleges existence. For example, his efforts to raise $2,000 for a football grandstand for fans to watch game. The creation of the McCook Endowment Fund raised over $500,000 after the school failed to raise $1.11 towards new buildings. Lastly I’ve concluded through my research that John J. McCook’s social reform helped decrease the presence of homelessness in Hartford. Because of his in depth knowledge of faith and philosophy, he was able to reform drunkenness, crime, and homelessness to inevitably save money for the city of Hartford and State of Connecticut.

 

Commemoration

My public commemoration project stems off John J. McCooks’ reform on homelessness but focuses on education as the tool for social mobility. I chose to create a scholarship fund for high school seniors who live below the poverty line. About 30% Hartford lives belong the poverty, the highest concentration between the ages of 18-24.  I intend to create the John J. McCook-Hartford Youth Scholarship to grant the seniors of Hartford High Schools (who obtain above a 3.0 GPA) full scholarships to Trinity or aid from Trinity towards another school or their choice. An important aspect of social and economic mobility is education and through creating a scholarship strictly for the underprivileged, their opportunity is not trumped by the wealthy and more fortunate. Similar to the Hartford Youth Foundation, but creating a stronger connection between Hartford and Trinity. Not only will this scholarship give more of Hartford’s residence an opportunity at attending college, but the scholarship also forces Trinity to make a direct pipeline from the city to the institution. Trinity continuously uses Hartford to attract students and takes great pride being the only NESCAC in an urban setting. However, with a tall black iron fence surrounding our perimeter, we separate ourselves from the very city we claim. An important aspect of social and economic mobility is education and through creating a scholarship strictly for the underprivileged, their opportunity is not trumped by the wealthy and more fortunate. With hope, this scholarship will both diversify Trinity’s student body but also help lower Hartford’s poverty rate through enhanced social mobility.

For the full research findings, click here: