But you can get a hint from this of the days when teachers at black schools were among the best in the country — Jim Crow was funneling the most educated black minds into a very limited set of professions.
This is a point that I find myself making a lot, especially during those nostalgic, rose-colored conversations about black collectivism and the strength of HBCUs in the Jim Crow era — and how integration subsequently eroded both. During Jim Crow, the best career option for ambitious Negroes was to attend “normal” schools — or what we still sometimes refer to as teachers colleges — or blacks-only colleges that groomed them for the ministry. Many of those normal schools are still around, albeit in different forms (Florida A&M and Hampton University began their lives this way). There’s a paradox here: those barriers to professional opportunity were bad for any individual kid’s career prospects — to say nothing of being a fetter on the creation and diversification of black economic wealth — but were great for the prestige of teaching and for black colleges.
There’s a propensity to link the general condition of black Americans in general with the current robustness of black institutions, even as those things have often been at historical odds.
Latest posts by G.D. (see all)
- Random Midday Hotness: ‘Cups’ x ‘Monster’ - July 16, 2014
- Random Midday Hotness: On A Day Like Today. - July 11, 2014
- When Afrocentric Art Goes [Right]: Tim Howard Enters the Pantheon. - July 1, 2014