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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 Plea for the Oppressed”

“A Plea for the Oppressed”

Educational Strivings, Pre-1865

(p.21) 1 “A Plea for the Oppressed”
Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850–1954

Stephanie Y. Evans

University Press of Florida

Before the dawning of the Civil War, over 250 institutions offered college-level education however only a select few catered to black or women students. The most notable of them were Oberlin, Antioch, Wilberforce, Hillsdale, Cheyney, Lincoln, and Berea. This chapter discusses and explores the antebellum period and highlights the social conditions which the women faced in their quest for educational attainment. Before 1865, women, particularly black women, were subject to violent reprisals, racism, and discriminatory school policies. For instance, in 1833, mob violence destroyed the Prudence Crandall's school for black girls in Connecticut. In addition to racism and the increasing tightening access to intellectual development, the pervasive system of slavery also imposed a great challenge on the efforts of black women for intellectual democracy and access. While some women were successful in attaining education, they were indoctrinated into a specific knowledge and were often subjects of character assassination that degraded and stereotyped black women.

Keywords:   Civil War, education, women students, social conditions, educational attainment, black women, racism, school policies, intellectual development, slavery

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