ERIC Number: ED522619
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2011-Aug-9
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: 56
Learning from the Past: Leadership Philosophies of Pioneer Presidents of Historically Black Colleges
Boggs, Olivia M.
At the close of the Civil War the United States was forced to grapple with the tremendous challenge of what to do with the millions of newly freed men, women, and children who, for more than three centuries, had been denied basic human rights, including learning how to read and write. During Reconstruction, several educational institutions were founded for the purpose of teaching basic literacy to former slaves. With few exceptions, white missionaries and former soldiers initially administered these schools. However, by the beginning of the 19th century black men and women took on the task of developing and guiding these institutions through the arduous journey of becoming fully accredited, degree-granting colleges during an era of extreme racial tension exacerbated by the rise of the Ku Klux Klan, race riots, political propaganda, and limited governmental protection. This article examines writings and speeches of five of these leaders to determine the philosophical tenets that ultimately sustained these institutions. The five researched presidents are Robert Russa Moton, Mordecai Wyatt Johnson, John Hope, Benjamin Elijah Mays, and Mary McLeod Bethune. The research was guided by three questions: What were the beliefs of effective African American college leaders of the past? Do they have implications for academic settings serving large numbers of Black students today? How might administrators learn from the past in order to effectively educate African American college students today? Findings revealed three consistencies among the five leaders: A communicated commitment to the liberation and full participation of Americans of African descent, global identification with people of color throughout the Diaspora, and a well-communicated vision of high expectations for student excellence and success. Appended to this document is the Last Will and Testament of Mary McLeod Bethune, originally published in "Ebony Magazine," August, 1955.
Publication Type: Historical Materials; Reports - Research
Education Level: Higher Education; Postsecondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A