A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and by Audrey Thomas McCluskey

By Audrey Thomas McCluskey

Emerging from the darkness of the slave period and Reconstruction, black activist girls Lucy Craft Laney, Mary McLeod Bethune, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Nannie Helen Burroughs based faculties geared toward freeing African-American early life from deprived futures within the segregated and decidedly unequal South. From the overdue 19th via mid-twentieth centuries, those participants fought discrimination as contributors of a bigger move of black girls who uplifted destiny generations via a spotlight on schooling, social carrier, and cultural transformation. Born unfastened, yet with the shadow of the slave earlier nonetheless implanted of their attention, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs outfitted off each one other’s successes and discovered from every one other’s struggles as directors, academics, and suffragists. Drawing from the women’s personal letters and writings approximately academic equipment and from remembrances of surviving scholars, Audrey Thomas McCluskey finds the pivotal importance of this sisterhood’s legacy for later generations and for the establishment of schooling itself.

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Extra info for A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South

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Among the many who have called on us in the past few months were a number of southern women, some paying a second visit during the month, bringing other friends. None of these ladies were ever before in a Colored school. They expressed themselves as well pleased, and have since “The Best Secondary School in Georgia” 41 showed their good will by little courtesies. I reasonably expect from these sources in the future something of moral support. 17 Laney’s indirect solicitations, without outwardly bragging or begging, showed confidence and deliberateness and speak to her diplomacy and management skills.

University of North Carolina Press, 1988), 31. The illiteracy rate among blacks in the South was 95 percent in 1860, 70 percent in 1880. 19. Anderson, The Education of Blacks, 4–32. 20. Robert J. Douglass, “Climbing Upward—She Lifted Others,” Abbott’s Monthly (June 1931): 32. 21. Marjorie E. W. Smith, “Putting First Things First,” Board of Missions of the Presbyterian Church, reprinted in Haines Journal (April 1934): 8. 22. Elizabeth Ross Haynes, The Black Boy of Atlanta (Boston: House of Edinboro, 1952), 37.

Smythe completed their studies. 12 Although the gender of the members of the second class of graduates, except for the speaker, is not mentioned, Laney always envisioned an institution that would dispel notions of black inferiority, especially pervasive myths about black women being incapable of teaching black children. In her Hampton Institute speech in 1899, Laney urged black women to become teachers and take up the “burden” of uplifting the race, while condemning published remarks attributed to white Southern women saying that black women suitable to teach could not be found.

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