Richard Henry Pratt

Richard Henry Pratt
Lieut Richard Henry Pratt, Founder and Superintendent of Carlisle Indian School, in Military Uniform and With Sword 1879.jpg
Richard Henry Pratt, as a Lieutenant in 1879
Born(1840-12-06)December 6, 1840
Rushford, New York, United States
DiedApril 15, 1924(1924-04-15) (aged 83)
Letterman Army Hospital, California, United States
AllegianceUnited States
Service/branchUnited States Army
Union Army
Years of service1861–1903
RankUnion army brig gen rank insignia.jpg Brigadier General, USA
Union army cpt rank insignia.jpg Captain, USV
Commands heldCarlisle Indian Industrial School
Spouse(s)Anna Laura

Brigadier General Richard Henry Pratt (December 6, 1840 – March 15, 1924)[1] is best known as the founder and longtime superintendent of the influential Carlisle Indian Industrial School at Carlisle, Pennsylvania. He is associated with the first recorded use of the word "racism," which he used in 1902 to criticize racial segregation. Pratt is also known for using the phrase "kill the Indian... and save the man" in reference to the ethos of the Carlisle Indian Industrial School and efforts to educate Native Americans.[2]

Early life

Pratt was born on December 6, 1840 in Rushford, New York to Richard and Mary Pratt (née Herrick). He was the eldest of their three sons. He contracted smallpox as a young child which left him with facial scarring for the rest of his life. His father moved the family to Logansport, Indiana in 1847. Pratt's father later left his family to take part in the California Gold Rush in 1849 but was robbed and murdered by another prospector leaving Pratt to support his mother and two brothers.[3]