Due to the history of slavery and its systemic effects on the education of African Americans, African American female educators heeded a clarion call to uplift their race. Their passion, devotion, and resilience in the face of insurmountable obstacles were heroic. This study will examine the leadership of 6 selected African American female educators during the Reconstruction, Segregation, and Equal Opportunity Eras from 1866 through 2010: Fanny Jackson Coppin, Dr. Anna Julia Cooper, Nannie Helen Burroughs, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, Dr. Mary Montel Bacon and Joan Faqir. Three areas of their life were examined: (a) their influences and motivations to move from the margins to the forefront of society to assume their roles as educational leaders, (b) the transformational leadership characteristics that made them some of the most influential educational leaders of their time, (c) and how they overcame gender and racial obstacles. Documented accounts of the lived experiences and historical accounts of African American female educational leaders are underrepresented or lacking in the body of literature. Even though there have been critical educational reforms in America, few studies exist regarding what motivated African American females to move from the margins to embrace the mantle of educational leadership. The literature is lacking an examination of this unique perspective during three pivotal eras in American education reform. African American female leaders demonstrated effective leadership skills and overcame insurmountable obstacles to educate African American children (K. Johnson, 2000). These extraordinary leaders educated students and pioneered schools, colleges, universities, and civic organizations (McCluskey, 1997). They filled a void that has too often gone under documented, under researched, and unnoticed. Their lasting leadership legacies have been under-chronicled for American posterity (Collins, 1990). This study is one researcher's attempt to give a voice to these women of distinction and further the literature on their valuable contributions. This study was guided by the following research questions: 1. What influenced and motivated six African American female educational leaders to move from the margins of society to assume their roles as educational leaders during the Reconstruction, Segregation, and Equal Opportunity eras? 2. How did six African American female educational leaders overcome racial and gender obstacles? 3. What transformational leadership characteristics did six African American female educational leaders possess? This study used a qualitative research approach by reviewing a broad array of information about four selected historical and two selected contemporary African American educational leaders.
Library of Congress Subject Headings
Dissertations (EdD) -- Organizational leadership; African Americans -- Education; African American leadership; Leadership in women; Educational leadership; Women educators -- United States -- Biography; Education -- United States -- History
Date of Award
Graduate School of Education and Psychology
Weber, Margaret J.
Clemmons, Wanda Johnson, "Uplift: an examination of six African American female educational leaders during the Reconstruction, Segregation and Equal Opportunity Eras" (2012). Theses and Dissertations. 312.