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 colleges aimed toward freeing African-American adolescence from deprived futures within the segregated and decidedly unequal South. From the overdue 19th via mid-twentieth centuries, those members fought discrimination as contributors of a bigger circulation of black ladies who uplifted destiny generations via a spotlight on schooling, social carrier, and cultural transformation. Born loose, yet with the shadow of the slave prior nonetheless implanted of their attention, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs outfitted off every one other’s successes and realized from each one other’s struggles as directors, teachers, and suffragists. Drawing from the women’s personal letters and writings approximately academic tools 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
48 Laney aroused such a call to service because she dedicated her own life to the work of social reclamation by focusing on children. “We have 22 Chapter 2 nothing to make women and men [of] but girls and boys” is a saying widely attributed to Laney. The success of Haines—led by a black woman in a field dominated by men—earned Laney gravitas in the larger black community, particularly among women. Having started her school in 1883, only two years after Booker T. Washington began at Tuskegee, she showed black women what could be achieved.
Her success was due, in no small measure, to constant nurturing and great personal sacrifice, including frequent travel for fundraising that affected her health. 31 Her earliest and most important fundraising appeal was one that a local minister encouraged her to make at the Minnesota meeting of the 95th General Assembly of the Presbyterian Church in 1899. The odds were against her, because men dominated the Assembly and women seldom spoke up. She received nothing but moral support and train fare back home until the leader of the women’s conference, Francina Haines of New Jersey, came to her aid.
Morgan Kousser, “Separate But Not Equal: The Supreme Court’s First Decision on Discrimination in Schools,” Social Science Working Paper, no. 204 (March 1978): 7. 88. Gloria T. , University of South Carolina, 1998), 309. 89. Kousser, “Separate But Not Equal,” F-14. 90. Kousser, “Separate But Not Equal,” 21. 91. Kousser, “Separate But Not Equal,” F-15. 92. The circumstantial evidence of Laney’s collusion, other than not signing the petition to keep Ware High open, comes via oral history and hearsay in the Harper family, plaintiffs in Cumming.
A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South by Audrey Thomas McCluskey