Race, Respectability, and Sexuality in Women’s Education
A comparison of two Georgia schools, the Lucy Cobb Institute in Athens, for elite whites, and Spelman Seminary of Atlanta, for African American women, both sought to prepare young women post-Reconstruction era. Founders and faculty strove to mold young women who would demonstrate the modernity and progressiveness of the South, as the schools themselves defined them. Race, class, and ideology shaped the definition and form of secondary education offered at the schools, creating some profound differences, but both emphasized morality and respectability, as both wanted to create women whose exemplary behavior would shield their public activism from reproach. Students and alumnae also sought to use their education to take a more public role in the New South.
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