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 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 contributors fought discrimination as contributors of a bigger circulation 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 previous nonetheless implanted of their awareness, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs equipped 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 tools and from remembrances of surviving scholars, Audrey Thomas McCluskey finds the pivotal value of this sisterhood’s legacy for later generations and for the establishment of schooling itself.
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Additional resources for A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South
This is illustrated in the following passage that a biographer attributed to Bethune: “The corridors [of Haines] were teeming with happy children who had been gathered up, washed up, and guided into better lives. ” 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.
Building upon her efforts discussed in the last chapter, we find Lucy Laney re-authorizing history and reimagining the environment in and around her school as part of her larger vision for permanence, control, and transformation. EARLY YEARS Augusta’s reputation as a city where blacks were on the move made it a compelling choice for Laney to build her school, but this decision was not without risks. The city was home to thriving black institutions, including Springfield Baptist Church, founded between 1773 and 1787, and the incorporated community of Springfield Village.
The circumstantial evidence paints a cloudy, but unsubstantiated picture of Laney’s activism. 91 Her motives, if suspicions are true, have been attributed to jealousy and a desire to recruit Ware students to the privately funded Haines. 92 When the Supreme Court ruling in Cumming et al. v. the Richmond County Board of Education was handed down in favor of the school board, it was a devastating blow to the black community. The 1899 ruling stated, in part, “States have the power to regulate the Negro in the enjoyment of his civil and social rights in accordance with tradition and custom, and unless his rights are greatly abused, he has no cause of complaint.
A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South by Audrey Thomas McCluskey