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9781579221089 / 1579221084

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About the book:

While President Emerita Johnnetta B. Cole is credited with propelling Spelman College (the oldest historically Black womens college) to national prominence, little is generally known about the strong academic foundation and legacy she inherited. Contrary to popular belief, the first four presidents of Spelman (including its two co-founders) were White women who led the early development of the College, armed with the belief that former slaves and free Black women should and could receive a college-level education.

This book presents the history of Spelmans foundation through the tenure of its fourth president, Florence M. Read, which ended in 1953. This compelling story is brought up to date by the contributions of Spelmans current president, Beverly Daniel Tatum, and by Johnnetta B. Cole.

The book chronicles how the vision each of these women presidents, and their response to changing social forces, both profoundly shaped Spelmans curriculum and influenced the lives and minds of thousands of young Black women. The authors trace the evolution of Spelman from its beginningwhen the founders, aware of the limited occupations open to its graduates, strove to uplift the Black race by providing an academic education to disenfranchised Black women while also providing training for available careers--to the fifties when the college became an exemplar of liberal arts education in the South.

This book fills a void in the history of Black women in higher education. It will appeal to a wide readership interested in womens studies, Black history and the history of higher education in general.

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