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Building a New Educational StateFoundations, Schools, and the American South$
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Joan Malczewski

Print publication date: 2016

Print ISBN-13: 9780226394626

Published to Chicago Scholarship Online: September 2017

DOI: 10.7208/chicago/9780226394763.001.0001

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PRINTED FROM CHICAGO SCHOLARSHIP ONLINE (www.chicago.universitypressscholarship.com). (c) Copyright University of Chicago Press, 2021. All Rights Reserved. An individual user may print out a PDF of a single chapter of a monograph in CHSO for personal use.date: 23 September 2021

“Working with Them a Step at a Time”

“Working with Them a Step at a Time”

(p.194) Chapter Five “Working with Them a Step at a Time”
Building a New Educational State

Joan Malczewski

University of Chicago Press

Mississippi education reform was fundamentally different from North Carolina. The state began to institutionalize public schools for whites early in the 20th Century, but progress was relatively slow and did not include rural black communities. State politicians were not interested in collaborating with northern foundations to promote schooling or political development, even though foundations provided funding for State Agents for Negro Education and initiated programs for education reform. This had important implications not just for the relative lack of educational development in rural black communities, but also for black agency. Black schools remained relatively isolated and disconnected throughout the first half of the 20th Century and rural blacks covertly promoted educational opportunity by corresponding directly and informally with foundations and their agents, providing only limited openings in rural areas for the foundations to initiate reform. This chapter argues that education progress was difficult to sustain because reform in black communities was a private rather than public initiative, and programs did not result in any comprehensive changes to the public system of schooling. Rural blacks came to understand that public education in Mississippi, and civil rights generally, would never happen without grass roots organizing and help from the outside.

Keywords:   State Agent for Negro Education, foundations, civil rights, education reform

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