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Advancing Creative Solutions to Assure Fairness and Excellence in Education

Education is the key to unlock the golden door of freedom.
George Washington Carver

Booker T. Washington1878-1895:

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1880Peabody Fund petitions the US Congress to provide federal aid for education in the South as a "vital necessity." It would take another 80 years before the US Congress allocated substantial funds for public education in America.
Federal census shows 70 percent of the South's adult Black population is illiterate.
1881Peabody Fund's investment of $823,000 in the South's public schools since 1867 has helped to leverage over $4.3 million in state and local tax dollars for education.
Approximately 39 secondary schools and colleges for Blacks are now established across the South; nine offer college courses. This South-wide total is still smaller than the number of such schools available to White students in any one Southern state.
1882John F. Slater, a Connecticut textile manufacturer, is inspired by the work of the Peabody Fund and creates the Slater Fund with a gift of $1 million.
US Congress considers the "Blair bill" proposing to distribute $135 million over 10 years to the states for education based on a state's rate of illiteracy. First introduced in 1880, the bill will pass the US Senate in 1884, 1886, and 1888, but not the US House. The bill finally dies in the Congress in 1890.
1883Peabody Fund adds a focus to promote teacher training while continuing to promote the growth of public schools in the South.
US Supreme Court declares the Civil Rights Act of 1875 unconstitutional. The Court holds that the 14th Amendment forbids states, not citizens, from discriminating on the basis of race.
1884Slater Fund appropriates $16,250 to twelve institutions to promote the training of African American teachers.
1886Only half of the South's US Senators vote for the Blair bill, despite estimates that it would have more than doubled annually the amount of money spent on public schools in the South.
1887 African American EducatorsThe "Southern people are beginning to aid [education]. The colored people are themselves doing more for the education of their children than at any past time. This work must take root in the South & in Southern white consciences--else some day it will die." --- Slater Fund Agent.
1888"Meharry Medical College (Nashville) is to have a new and very important building. The chief building at Rush, Holly Springs, Miss., which burned last March is being restored. The new brick building at Spelman [is] being built This Slater money breeds--dollar for dollar." --- Salter Fund Agent.
Ninety-four Black Americans, almost all in the South, are reported lynched.
1889"Education is the fundamental basis of general and permanent prosperity. Poverty is the inevitable result of ignorance. Capital follows the schoolhouse." --- J. L. M. Curry, Peabody Fund Agent, speaking before the Alabama legislature on February 2.
Conference on Southern Education in Capron Springs, West Virginia brings together Southern school reformers and Northern philanthropists in the first regional meeting of its kind.
1890The state of Mississippi approves a plan to use literacy and "understanding" tests to disenfranchise African American citizens. South Carolina (1895), Louisiana (1898), North Carolina (1900), Alabama (1901), Virginia (1901), Georgia (1908), and Oklahoma (1910) will adopt similar statues.
1891The rate of Black illiteracy in the South declines to 58 percent. The White rate in the South is 31 percent.
1892Peabody Fund's investment of $636,000 over the last 10 years to begin and strengthen colleges and schools that train Black and White teachers has expanded the growth of teaching and public schools across the South.
Reports from 1890 Census show only 4 percent of Whites and less than half of 1 percent of Blacks between the ages of 15-19 years enrolled in high schools. Most high schools are private, and in 8 Southern states there are no public high schools for Black children.
1893 Slater Fund supports most of the South's Black colleges, including Atlanta University, Spelman, Talladega College, Hampton, Philander Smith, Jackson College, Meharry Medical College, and Benedict Institute.
1895Booker T. Washington, president of Tuskegee Institute, delivers his "Atlanta Compromise" address on September 18 at the Cotton States Exposition in what is today Piedmont Park. Washington says the "Negro problem" will be solved by a policy of gradualism and accommodation.
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