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Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850–1954An Intellectual History$
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Stephanie Y. Evans

Print publication date: 2008

Print ISBN-13: 9780813032689

Published to Florida Scholarship Online: September 2011

DOI: 10.5744/florida/9780813032689.001.0001

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“A Beneficent Force”

(p.180) 9 Service
Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850–1954

Stephanie Y. Evans

University Press of Florida

This chapter discusses the relationship that exists between education and community service. Amidst several existing notions on the means of learning, for the black women educators, the function of education is directly tied to community service. However, some of them do not see service and education in the same manner. Rather, for them, there exists an innate and reciprocal relationship between education, community service, and social justice. This chapter focuses on the identified link between education and advocacy which most black women educational leaders acknowledge. This chapter once again discusses the definition of Cooper and Bethune on service. For Cooper, earning education was a form of service wherein she believes those who earned the privilege of learning owed their gains to the community. Bethune meanwhile believes that community service and social responsibility were the core tenets of higher education. For her, everyone has a communal responsibility, however it is the duty of the middle class to uplift the underprivileged masses. Pragmatism and national progressivism that were prevailing in African American education are discussed as well.

Keywords:   education, community service, black women educators, social justice, advocacy, Cooper, Bethune, service

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