A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South (Hardback)
  • A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South (Hardback)

A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South (Hardback)

Hardback 192 Pages / Published: 30/10/2014
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In the late nineteenth through the mid-twentieth century a small group of women overcame personal and professional hardships to gain national prominence as educational reformers and social activists. This book takes a biographical look at Lucy Craft Laney, Mary McLeod Bethune, Nannie Helen Burroughs, and Charlotte Hawkins Brown. The four women founded schools for African-American children, as well as being activists, lecturers, and suffragists.

Publisher: Rowman & Littlefield
ISBN: 9781442211384
Number of pages: 192
Weight: 435 g
Dimensions: 235 x 160 x 21 mm

"In this chronicle of a 'sisterhood of purposeful women,' McCluskey, a professor at Indiana University, examines the lives of . . . four African American activist women who gained notoriety for their dedication to educating African American youth and their mission to sustain schools among the harsh conditions of the Jim Crow era. Confronted with issues of class, race, and gender 'in an era of harsh racial repression, as well as a social order that constricted and confined women,' Lucy Craft Laney, Mary McLeod Bethune, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Nannie Helen Burroughs all succeeded in educating black girls and boys, young women and men, as well as establishing Institutions, three of which survive today. McCluskey explores their supportive, although occasionally competitive relations with one another, their links to the networks of black women's clubs, and white philanthropists who supported their efforts, their writing, and their emergent feminist and political activism as well. Of special interest are the interviews with several surviving graduates of Palmer Memorial Institute, which was founded by Charlotte Hawkins Brown in 1902 and closed in 1971. The graduates detail their experiences-how they came to study there, how the school commemorated Brown, and what the daily regimen was like. McCluskey's well-researched account articulates the importance of this particular movement in education, appropriately and skillfully, to memorialize the four pioneering women at the forefront." * Publishers Weekly *
"This slim volume traces the careers of four black women who founded schools to educate and 'uplift' African Americans during the nadir of race relations. Lucy Craft Laney, Mary McLeod Bethune, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Nannie Helen Burroughs defied the disadvantages of race, class, and gender to form networks and share influence as religious, social, economic, and political leaders in local communities, the nation, and the world. Excellent individual biographies and articles have been written on some of these women, but pulling their stories together helps highlight their uncommon collective power in this era. While they often partnered with and raised funds among men and whites, they valued their autonomy and even criticized these groups in both diplomatic and blunt fashion. They favored the liberal arts as well as 'industrial education,' unlike their better-known male contemporaries, W. E. B. Du Bois and Booker T. Washington. A lifetime of research in diaries, correspondence, photos, organizational records, newspaper articles and editorials, interviews with former students, and memorials to these pioneers allows McCluskey to paint admiring portraits of indomitable educators and activists who paved the way for the civil rights movement of the mid-20th century. Summing Up: Highly recommended. All levels/libraries." * CHOICE *
"This well-researched and well-written book on the history of four important Black women school founders in the staunchly segregated South fills a void in the literature on Black education in the South and on Black women educators. Audrey Thomas McCluskey presents a powerful story of courage and perseverance through the women's own letters and writings. This will undoubtedly become an authority on these women and the lasting impact they had." -- Linda M. Perkins, associate professor and director of the Applied Women's Studies Department, Claremont Graduate University
"The interconnected narratives of support, courage, and perseverance of these women leaders from an earlier historical moment offer an example of hope and inspiration to social justice warriors in the current struggle for equity in American education." -- Marilyn Sanders Mobley, Vice President for Inclusion, Diversity, and Equal Opportunity, Case Western Reserve University
"Essential reading for students, professors, and others who want to gain invaluable insights into how compelling ideas shaped black institutions of higher education." -- Carolyn Calloway-Thomas, Indiana University
"The lives detailed in this important study have much to teach us about African American women's history and educational strategies for social change." -- Tiya A. Miles, University of Michigan
"[This book] includes the important and all too often forgotten efforts and contributions of Black women, who tirelessly fought to ensure that American education is accessible, equitable, and just for all." -- Stephanie Power Carter, Indiana University - Bloomington
"To read A Forgotten Sisterhood is to elate in the triumph of Black educational achievement in the United States." -- Jacinda Townsend, University of California-Davis

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