A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and by Audrey Thomas McCluskey

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 geared toward freeing African-American formative years from deprived futures within the segregated and decidedly unequal South. From the overdue 19th via mid-twentieth centuries, those contributors fought discrimination as participants of a bigger move of black ladies who uplifted destiny generations via a spotlight on schooling, social carrier, and cultural transformation. Born unfastened, yet with the shadow of the slave prior nonetheless implanted of their realization, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs outfitted off every one other’s successes and realized from each one other’s struggles as directors, academics, and suffragists. Drawing from the women’s personal letters and writings approximately academic equipment 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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21. Marjorie E. W. Smith, “Putting First Things First,” Board of Missions of the Presbyterian Church, reprinted in Haines Journal (April 1934): 8. 22. Elizabeth Ross Haynes, The Black Boy of Atlanta (Boston: House of Edinboro, 1952), 37. 23. Douglass, “Climbing Upward,” 32. 24. Lucy Laney, “Address Before the Women’s Meeting,” paper delivered at the Second Atlanta University Conference, 1897, reprinted in Atlanta University Publications, ed. W. E. B. Du Bois (New York: Octagon Books, 1968), 55–57.

Working with the white Civic League and the Augusta interracial alliance, Laney saw that improvements were made in housing and drainage in black neighborhoods. 84 Laney also joined NAACP field secretary, James Weldon Johnson, to establish the Augusta chapter of the organization in 1917. After the passage of the Nineteenth Amendment, Laney headed a drive to register black women voters in Augusta, in spite of robust efforts to disenfranchise black voters in the state. ” 86 Such activism was, nevertheless, a defiant stand against Augusta’s white power structure that refused to respect the rights and wishes of its black citizens.

30. Anne Kendall, “Lucy Craft Laney” (research paper), Lucy Laney File (Atlanta University Center Library, 1972): 1–10. 31. Laney suffered from several ailments, including nephritis, a serious kidney condition, that were all made worse by her constant travelling to raise funds for Haines, as well as her teaching and administrative duties. 32. Haines Institute, “Golden Jubilee,” program booklet, 1934, Lucy Craft Laney vertical file, Reese Library, Augusta College and Richmond County Historical Society.

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