By Audrey Thomas McCluskey
Emerging from the darkness of the slave period and Reconstruction, black activist ladies Lucy Craft Laney, Mary McLeod Bethune, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Nannie Helen Burroughs based colleges geared toward freeing African-American early life from deprived futures within the segregated and decidedly unequal South. From the past due 19th via mid-twentieth centuries, those contributors fought discrimination as individuals of a bigger flow of black ladies who uplifted destiny generations via a spotlight on schooling, social provider, and cultural transformation. Born loose, yet with the shadow of the slave prior nonetheless implanted of their realization, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs outfitted off each one other’s successes and discovered from every one other’s struggles as directors, teachers, and suffragists. Drawing from the women’s personal letters and writings approximately academic equipment and from remembrances of surviving scholars, Audrey Thomas McCluskey unearths the pivotal importance of this sisterhood’s legacy for later generations and for the establishment of schooling itself.
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Additional info for A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South
Walker, a prominent Augusta educator and devoted follower of Booker T. Washington. 55. McCluskey and Smith, Building a Better World, 50. 56. Audrey T. McCluskey, “‘We Specialize in the Wholly Impossible’: Black Women School Founders and Their Mission,” Signs: Journal of Women in Culture and Society 22, no. 2 (Winter 1997): 403–26. 57. Anderson, Education of Blacks, 88. 58. Bacote, Story of Atlanta University, 15–16. 59. Bacote, Story of Atlanta University, 15–16. 60. Anderson, Education of Blacks, 34.
Seeing that Laney’s work was not being recognized beyond her own group, in 1929 Barrett nominated her for the William Harmon Foundation’s annual award for distinguished achievement among Negroes. Barrett, who won the award the same year she nominated Laney, taught briefly at Haines after graduating from Hampton Institute. 50 In her letter of nomination, she asked the organization to “please look up Miss Lucy Laney’s work. . [S]he has done a wonderful job in inspiring young people . . [and] splendid work in the field of education through the years.
Differences that do exist, to a certain extent, are traceable to white benefactors and mentors and educational ideas to which black educators had early exposure. Similarly, an appreciation of Du Bois’s northern liberalism, Fisk University education, and Harvard doctoral degree deepens our understanding of his preference for classical education and building a leadership class from among the most gifted black students. Still, these leading advocates for education were never diametrically opposed to each other, and one can find overlaps in their educational philosophies.
A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South by Audrey Thomas McCluskey