Mabel Carney at Teachers College: From Home Missionary to White Ally
by Kathleen Weiler — 2005
This article discusses the career of Mabel Carney, head of the Department of Rural Education at Teachers College from 1918 to 1941. Carney was deeply involved with African American and African education, traveling to Africa and the American South, teaching courses on "Negro education," and working closely with both African and African American graduate students. When she retired from Teachers College in 1942, she was given an honorary doctorate from Howard University for her support of African American education. She died in 1968. Carney is barely mentioned in educational histories of the period. Her life and contributions to African American struggles for higher education reveal a little-known history. But her story also illuminates the instability of conceptions of race, the uneasy positioning of white women reformers, and the ways that progressive white educators' understandings of race changed in the interwar years in response to broader political events and social movements.
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