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 releasing African-American early life 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 circulate of black girls who uplifted destiny generations via a spotlight on schooling, social provider, and cultural transformation. Born loose, yet with the shadow of the slave previous nonetheless implanted of their cognizance, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs equipped off each 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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Extra info for A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South
Edward J. : Richmond County Board of Education, 1985), 9. 29. “Miss Laney’s Address,” 1903. 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.
To Laney, the home was the foundation of society, and she believed that the black race must be rid of “untidy and filthy” homes that bred death and moral decay. Laney invoked historical examples, including Phyllis Wheatley and Sojourner Truth, to show what the race was capable of achieving. In the Hampton speech, she also assailed the injustice that landed black men in jail for stealing two “fish hooks” and blamed the courts for their practice of handing down stiffer punishment to black offenders.
Although she was active as a “whirlwind,” travelling widely to give speeches and raise funds for her school, Laney lived her entire life within a 300-mile radius within the state. After Reconstruction, blacks made up nearly half the population in Georgia but were subjected to the most severe repression and hostility that the recalcitrant white South had to offer. 74 Du Bois considered the state not only the geographical center of black America, but also the epicenter of black problems. 75 Whether the issue was the convict lease system that used the prison system to re-enslave blacks and hire out their labor, black disenfranchisement, lynching, or denial of public education, the state usually adopted an anti-black stance.
A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South by Audrey Thomas McCluskey