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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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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record Volume 107 Number 12, 2005, p. 2599-2633
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 12253, Date Accessed: 2/25/2020 1:50:26 AM

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About the Author
  • Kathleen Weiler
    Tufts University
    E-mail Author
    KATHLEEN WEILER is professor of education at Tufts University. Her research has focused on the social, historical, and political analysis of education in relation to questions of gender. She is the author of Women Teaching for Change (1988) and Country Schoolwomen (1998). She has published ethnographic studies of classroom teaching, theoretical discussions of feminist theory and pedagogy, and historical studies of women educators. She is currently writing a joint biography of two California women progressive educators.
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