ERIC Number: ED375987
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 1993-Mar
Reference Count: N/A
Missionaries and Mountain Peoples: Presbyterian Responses to Southern Appalachia & Hispanic New Mexico.
Banker, Mark T.
This paper examines the comparable educational histories of the "Hispanos" of a mountainous area of New Mexico and the peoples of southern Appalachia. Presbyterian missionaries entered both regions following the Civil War and soon placed mountain people in the category of "exceptional populations," along with freed slaves, Native Americans, Mormons, and other marginal groups in American society. By 1890, there were 32 mission schools in New Mexico serving more than 1,600 Mexican-American students. A decade later in the Appalachians, there were 37 mission schools that served 3,000 mountain youths. By the early 20th century, mountain students could progress from isolated one-room elementary schools to relatively large and well-equipped boarding schools that offered secondary-level work. The goal of boarding schools was to prepare future teachers for the advent of public school systems. As the latter expectation became fulfilled, Presbyterians gradually discontinued their day schools. The boarding schools, however, remained vital through the 1930s. Throughout the years many teachers left, but for those who remained, classroom duties made up only a small part of their daily routine. They performed an array of medical duties; offered advice about housekeeping, farming, and legal affairs; and served as midwives and undertakers. These efforts bridged cultural barriers, countered local suspicions, and perhaps most importantly, eroded the missionaries' own prejudices and ethnocentrism. Although the missionaries accomplished a great deal by offering education, there is evidence that their influence eroded traditional culture in both regions. (LP)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New Mexico