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Winning the Social War Through Education

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant to support the groundbreaking research of Professors Cally Waite and Margaret Crocco, who will be studying "The Education of Southern African Americans in Northern Research Institutions from Plessy to Brown (1896-1954)."
The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant to support thegroundbreaking research of Professors Cally Waite and Margaret Crocco,who will be studying "The Education of Southern African Americans inNorthern Research Institutions from Plessy to Brown (1896-1954)."
Theproject seeks to explore a prominent, yet understudied, historicalexample of African Americans and whites working together to improveeducation for all races. Waite and Crocco believe "the story to be toldhere is an important one. Historians have often viewed African-Americaneducation as a solely southern domain. This research is importantbecause we will examine the role northern institutions played in thepreparation of black scholars for educational and social leadership. Webelieve our research will be a significant contribution to theliterature concerning the history of American education."
Waiteis Assistant Professor of History and Education and Crocco is AssociateProfessor of Social Studies and Education at Teachers College.
Speakingabout the intent of the research, Crocco said, "On a very fundamentallevel the research is to establish a description of what the phenomenonwas and to understand why these individuals came out of the South tothe North for their education. What did they find here and how did itaffect their subsequent professional careers? These were the people whocame to schools like Teachers College and New York University and whobecame the leaders, faculty, and administrators of Historically BlackColleges and Universities (HBCUs) at a very critical period leading upto the Brown case. And on the white side, what was the perception ofwhites about what they were doing? What were their motivations for thiskind of bi-racial exercise in educational development?"
Waiteadded, "Another goal is not content but historiographical. This projecthas raised crucial issues about historical research in the education ofAfrican Americans. While a great deal of material exists, access tothese sources requires flexibility and creativity in the searchprocess."
As a first step in their comprehensive effort, Waiteand Crocco have uncovered the connections between Teachers College andHBCUs, notably Hampton, Tuskegee, Fisk, Lincoln and HowardUniversities. The researchers also wish to trace the careers of a smallsample of African-American Teachers College graduates during thedecades under consideration and do oral histories with those who can beidentified among Teachers College alumni records as faculty andadministrators at HBCUs during the period up to 1954.
As acomprehensive school of education originally offering bothundergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of programs,Teachers College drew from across the United States as well as aroundthe world. In the 1930s both Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Duboisspoke at Teachers College in a lecture series on African-Americaneducation.
African Americans attended Teachers College in smallbut significant numbers during the years 1896 to 1954. Between 1930 and1960, according to Horace Mann Bond (1972), Teachers College awarded144 doctoral degrees to graduates of Black Colleges, more than anyother American institution of higher learning. Following close behindwas New York University. During the first half of the twentiethcentury, several generations of African-American leaders earned degreesat Harvard, Yale, Ohio State, and the University of Chicago, amongothers.
"As a result," Waite said, "many graduates of northerninstitutions became faculty and administrators at HBCUs, as well asteachers in segregated schools throughout the South." "Given therealities of the time period," Crocco commented, "the story of theconnections between TC, NYU, and the HBCUs wasn't completely aboutliberating the races from the expectations that existed for them."
Avariety of "push" and "pull" factors attracted African-Americanscholars to northern institutions. Propelling them out of the Southwere segregation and the willingness of southern state governments tofund graduate education for African-American students in northerninstitutions rather than allowing them to enroll in state universities.
"Drawing them North were educational opportunities," Waite said.
"AtTeachers College in particular, there were innovative programs notfound in southern institutions such as social studies, educationaladministration (especially for the new role of 'dean of women'),educational sociology, guidance and counseling," she continued.
Changesin thinking about education, democracy, and school integration will beexamined through the stories of both African-American and whitescholars associated with Teachers College and their experiences asprofessional educators after they left Teachers College. Research atTeachers College and New York University will serve as a template forpursuing a more comprehensive project involving other northerneducational institutions.

Published Monday, Jan. 1, 2001

Winning the Social War Through Education

The Andrew W. Mellon Foundation has awarded a grant to support thegroundbreaking research of Professors Cally Waite and Margaret Crocco,who will be studying "The Education of Southern African Americans inNorthern Research Institutions from Plessy to Brown (1896-1954)."
Theproject seeks to explore a prominent, yet understudied, historicalexample of African Americans and whites working together to improveeducation for all races. Waite and Crocco believe "the story to be toldhere is an important one. Historians have often viewed African-Americaneducation as a solely southern domain. This research is importantbecause we will examine the role northern institutions played in thepreparation of black scholars for educational and social leadership. Webelieve our research will be a significant contribution to theliterature concerning the history of American education."
Waiteis Assistant Professor of History and Education and Crocco is AssociateProfessor of Social Studies and Education at Teachers College.
Speakingabout the intent of the research, Crocco said, "On a very fundamentallevel the research is to establish a description of what the phenomenonwas and to understand why these individuals came out of the South tothe North for their education. What did they find here and how did itaffect their subsequent professional careers? These were the people whocame to schools like Teachers College and New York University and whobecame the leaders, faculty, and administrators of Historically BlackColleges and Universities (HBCUs) at a very critical period leading upto the Brown case. And on the white side, what was the perception ofwhites about what they were doing? What were their motivations for thiskind of bi-racial exercise in educational development?"
Waiteadded, "Another goal is not content but historiographical. This projecthas raised crucial issues about historical research in the education ofAfrican Americans. While a great deal of material exists, access tothese sources requires flexibility and creativity in the searchprocess."
As a first step in their comprehensive effort, Waiteand Crocco have uncovered the connections between Teachers College andHBCUs, notably Hampton, Tuskegee, Fisk, Lincoln and HowardUniversities. The researchers also wish to trace the careers of a smallsample of African-American Teachers College graduates during thedecades under consideration and do oral histories with those who can beidentified among Teachers College alumni records as faculty andadministrators at HBCUs during the period up to 1954.
As acomprehensive school of education originally offering bothundergraduate and graduate degrees in a wide variety of programs,Teachers College drew from across the United States as well as aroundthe world. In the 1930s both Booker T. Washington and W.E.B. Duboisspoke at Teachers College in a lecture series on African-Americaneducation.
African Americans attended Teachers College in smallbut significant numbers during the years 1896 to 1954. Between 1930 and1960, according to Horace Mann Bond (1972), Teachers College awarded144 doctoral degrees to graduates of Black Colleges, more than anyother American institution of higher learning. Following close behindwas New York University. During the first half of the twentiethcentury, several generations of African-American leaders earned degreesat Harvard, Yale, Ohio State, and the University of Chicago, amongothers.
"As a result," Waite said, "many graduates of northerninstitutions became faculty and administrators at HBCUs, as well asteachers in segregated schools throughout the South." "Given therealities of the time period," Crocco commented, "the story of theconnections between TC, NYU, and the HBCUs wasn't completely aboutliberating the races from the expectations that existed for them."
Avariety of "push" and "pull" factors attracted African-Americanscholars to northern institutions. Propelling them out of the Southwere segregation and the willingness of southern state governments tofund graduate education for African-American students in northerninstitutions rather than allowing them to enroll in state universities.
"Drawing them North were educational opportunities," Waite said.
"AtTeachers College in particular, there were innovative programs notfound in southern institutions such as social studies, educationaladministration (especially for the new role of 'dean of women'),educational sociology, guidance and counseling," she continued.
Changesin thinking about education, democracy, and school integration will beexamined through the stories of both African-American and whitescholars associated with Teachers College and their experiences asprofessional educators after they left Teachers College. Research atTeachers College and New York University will serve as a template forpursuing a more comprehensive project involving other northerneducational institutions.
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