Chapter 3 focuses on Walker’s gift of education through her national network of beauty schools as a model of urban industrial vocational education at the same time that Booker T. Washington’s southern rural model of industrial education was prominent. Washington’s Tuskegee model has been critiqued as not successful in addressing black educational needs despite its proliferation because it appeased the white South and focused on the fading agricultural economy. Walker’s beauty schools, in contrast, offered an urban alternative for migrating black women to earn credentials, enabling their gainful employment in the emerging industrial economies of the North, Midwest, and South. The chapter analyzes the curriculum of the Walker beauty schools and its blending of theory, technique, and business management principles to support graduates’ success. This gift of education aligned Walker with other educator-philanthropists of her era, such as Mary McLeod Bethune, Lucy Laney, and Charlotte Hawkins Brown—whose schools she also funded. Walker’s partnership with southern black schools is also examined through which she made donations in exchange for commitments to offer her curriculum. Although only a few colleges took up the offer, participating schools split profits of beauty culture sales made by students with the Walker Company. The program was Walker’s effort to grow her market, extend opportunity to students, and financially support the schools. The chapter reinterprets the relationship between industrial philanthropy and black education, and the value of industrial vocational education to northern black urban communities.
Keywords: beauty schools, industrial philanthropy, philanthropy, education, black education, industrial education, vocational education, Booker T Washington, Tuskegee Institute, fraternal organizations
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