ERIC Number: EJ1144311
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Public Perceptions, Private Agendas: Washington, Moton, and the Secondary Curriculum of Tuskegee Institute 1910-1926
Morowski, Deborah L.
American Educational History Journal, v40 n1 p1-20 2013
After the Civil War, schooling for African Americans was irregular and consisted mainly of elementary grades. Education was provided, primarily, by elite, private institutions and fewer than three percent of students aged 13-17 attended regularly. In 1896, the United States Supreme Court issued a ruling in "Plessey v. Ferguson." Although the case involved a Louisiana statute requiring separation of the races on trains, the ruling had far-reaching implications for education. With this ruling, the Court acknowledged segregation as a general American practice and firmly established a dual system of education for white and black students. Washington's Tuskegee Institute was a model of black secondary education throughout the rural south. Although the public perception of Tuskegee was of an institution designed to instill in southern blacks the dignity of manual labor, the curriculum was innovative for its time. Tuskegee's curriculum was developed around the concept of making education relevant to students' lives and giving them training in real-life occupations. A closer examination of the curriculum further reveals that Tuskegee's curriculum was similar to that offered in high schools for white students throughout the state, a curriculum that focused on broad learning from the study of ancient Greece and Sparta to classical literature. Such coursework would not have been required to be proficient in trades or industry, but would serve to provide an educated class of confident African Americans who could further future efforts for racial equality. This article considers a multi-faceted institution, inextricably tied to its leaders, that publicly was viewed as accommodationist. Often absent from the public discussion was the fact that the institution inspired its students and provided much-needed efficacy for those who were segregated and, often, persecuted in society.
Descriptors: Public Opinion, Hidden Curriculum, School Segregation, Court Litigation, Racial Segregation, African American Education, African American History, African American Students, Secondary School Curriculum, Culturally Relevant Education, Academic Aspiration, Institutional Characteristics, Role Models, Social Change
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Research
Education Level: Secondary Education
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Alabama
Identifiers - Laws, Policies, & Programs: Plessy v Ferguson
Grant or Contract Numbers: N/A