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 faculties 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 individuals of a bigger move of black girls 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 recognition, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs equipped off every one other’s successes and discovered 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 value 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
THREE “The Best Secondary School in Georgia” Building the Haines Institute Culture How was it that in black untutored eyes You sensed that dawning gleam, the light of hope? —Frank Garvin Yerby, Haines, class of 1933 The “quiet work” in building her school that Janie Porter Barrett attributes to Lucy Laney seems to have paid off. ” 1 The report also documented its steady growth from a primary school to a combined elementary and secondary school with an enrollment of 860 students. Of that number, females outnumbered male students by 571 to 289.
This “burden” became Lucy Laney’s life’s work. She believed in the biblical directive of shared suffering and that sacrificing oneself for others is the highest Christian calling: “Bear ye one another’s burdens, and thus fulfill the law,” she quoted from Scripture. The “self-sacrificing” narrative found expression in Laney’s work and in the regional and national black women’s club movement that she joined. It achieved great organizational reach after the founding of the National Association of Colored Women in 1896.
Laney did not intend for industrial courses to dominate her school, and the disparity was likely part of Laney’s stated intention to provide an education to “develop all sides of the pupil’s life” 4 in an environment that was academically rigorous and mission-oriented. This situation raises important questions: What factors influenced Laney’s calculations about what she could accomplish in Augusta, considering the harsh social and political situation for blacks in post-Reconstruction Georgia and the rising tide of industrial education?