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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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“The Crown of Culture”

“The Crown of Culture”

Educational Attainment, 1865–1910

(p.36) 2 “The Crown of Culture”
Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850–1954

Stephanie Y. Evans

University Press of Florida

The end of the Civil War and the beginning of World War I saw a blossoming of black women in the fertile ground of academics. Not only were three colleges developed for black women, but this era also saw the first substantial crop of scholars with formal training that was on a par with the men's and challenged the general assumption that higher learning was designed for men alone as women were deemed to be incapable of higher level education. This progress in the educational quest of black women was significant but qualified. Black women were admitted to schools but not in college departments and were restricted to attaining degrees. This chapter tracks the black women's push for higher levels of education between the Civil War and World War I, despite employment being generally limited to agriculture, domestic service, and elementary education. The chapter also discusses regional trends and patterns overruling college classifications including the plight of black women and students on the historically black colleges and universities (HBCUs) and predominantly white institutions (PWIs). The chapter also tackles academic pedigrees and the elite and aristocratic tendencies of education as well as the growing recognizance of the relationship between education and social responsibility.

Keywords:   black women, academics, higher learning, college departments, education, Civil War, World War I, college classifications, black colleges, black universities

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