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“To Do The Next Needed Thing” with Valinda W. Littlefield

  • Broadcast in History



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“To Do The Next Needed Thing”:  Jeanes Teachers and the Freedom Struggle

Do you know who the Jeanes Teachers are and their role in the education of African American children in rural America?

Bernice Bennett welcomes Dr. Valinda W. Littlefield, the Director of African American Studies and Associate Professor of History, College of Arts and Sciences, University of South Carolina.  Dr. Littlefield’s research focuses on Southern African American women educators during the Jim Crow era.  She earned dual degrees, BA in History and Political Science from North Carolina Central University and her Ph.D. from the University of Illinois, Urbana-Champaign. 

In 1907 Miss Anna T. Jeanes, a Quaker woman, donated $1,000,000, “for the furthering and fostering of rudimentary education” in small rural Negro schools.  Though this fund was incorporated as the Negro Rural School Fund, it was usually referred to as the Jeanes Fund. Rosenwald devised a matching grant program to help build black schools in the South. If a rural black community raised a contribution and the white school board agreed to operate the facility, Rosenwald would contribute cash – usually about one fifth of the total project.