chapter  5
19 Pages

Agency Within Constraints

The Professional Preparation and Work of Southern Black Educators, 1945–1970
WithDonna Jordan-Taylor

This chapter explores how both the pursuit of graduate education and the subsequent work educational credentials facilitated represent acts that challenged status quo education under Jim Crow, resulting in a gradual reshaping of schools, teaching, and the students they served. It focuses on students from Mississippi and Alabama who utilized out-of-state tuition programs. As a teacher, and then teacher educator, Effie Clay's agency stemmed in the classroom, her graduate work, and in relationships with her colleagues whose training served to reinforce best practices from programs across the country. Most Blacks were also painfully aware that challenging the constraints of the South's racial order came with substantial risks, ranging from high costs and long legal delays to extra-legal retaliation. Black educators with advanced degrees were sought not just to fulfil teaching demand but because their credentials were desperately needed for accreditation purposes.