The introduction explains both the historical and theoretical context for understanding southern black education reform in the Jim Crow South. This includes a description of black education reform beginning with Reconstruction, the state of rural black education at the beginning of the 20th Century, and the important role of southern blacks in promoting education reform in local communities. It also describes the emergence of the 20th Century foundations involved in southern education and their interest in creating a stronger national state, a basis for their focus on southern black education between 1900 and 1940. The introduction draws on scholarship in American political development to understand black education reform. Schooling in rural black communities was important to reorganizing state and local governance structures and promoting social policy in the early 20th Century, though the racial state created strict parameters for reform. The introduction describes how APD theory and the use of historical methodology comparing North Carolina and Mississippiprovides important nuance to the accepted historical narrative and makes contributions to the existing literature in southern education reform, American political development, African American history, and foundation history.
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