One of the forerunners in the field of black studies, theologian and educator Reverend Alexander Crummell (1819–1898), along with a group of black intellectuals, founded the American Negro Academy in Washington, D.C., in 1897. The purpose of the organization was to foster scholarship and promote literature, science, and art among African Americans. The organization’s members hoped that through the academy an educated black elite would be born to shape and direct society. Crummell first conceived of the idea of an American Negro Academy while he was a student at Cambridge University in England. The organization’s founding members included poet Paul Laurence Dunbar (1872–1906), William Sanders Scarborough (1852–1926), and educator and Pan Africanist W.E.B. Du Bois (1868–1963), among other noted educators. Following Crummell’s death in 1898, Du Bois was elected president of the academy.