Extraordinary change requires extraordinary people. These four individuals we have chosen to highlight here at Carrot-Top Industries persevered through their hardships and vocalized a need for change and reform, creating the American education system we have today.
Mary McLeod Bethune Background
Born the daughter of former slaves on July 10, 1875 in Mayesville, South Carolina, Mary McLeod Bethune was an American educator, philanthropist, humanitarian, womanist, and civil rights activist. She rose to prominence as one of the 20th century's most significant black educators, civil rights, and women's rights activists. She developed a college that established academic standards for black universities today, and her position as FDR's counselor allowed African Americans a voice in politics.
After the war, initiatives were made to educate African Americans, and Bethune was one among them. She earned her diploma from the North Carolina boarding school Scotia Seminary in 1894. Bethune then went to Chicago, Illinois, to study at the Dwight Moody Institute for Home and Foreign Missions. However, Bethune became a teacher because no church was ready to support her in her work as a missionary. She married fellow educator Albertus Bethune while she was a teacher in South Carolina, and the two of them welcomed a son in 1899.
After women were granted the right to vote in 1920, Bethune, a champion of racial and gender equality, created numerous organizations and oversaw voter registration drives while facing racist abuse. She was chosen to lead the National Association of Colored Women's Clubs in 1924, and in 1935, she was chosen to lead the National Council of Negro Women as its first president. During the Great Depression, Bethune also contributed to the shift of black voters from the Republican Party, "the party of Lincoln" to the Democratic Party. When President Franklin Roosevelt appointed Eleanor Roosevelt's friend Bethune director of Negro Affairs of the National Youth Administration in 1936, she rose to the position of highest-ranking African American woman in government and held it until 1944. She also served as a key figure in FDR's clandestine "black cabinet." In 1937, Bethune spearheaded efforts to stop lynching and discrimination by planning a meeting on issues affecting black people and black youth. She joined the National Association for the Advancement of Colored Persons (NAACP) in 1940 and served as vice president for the remainder of her life. Bethune made sure that the Women's Army Corps was racially diverse as a member of the advisory council that helped to establish it in 1942.
Bethune was the only woman of color at the 1945 United Nations foundation convention and was chosen by President Harry S. Truman. She frequently penned articles for the Chicago Defender and Pittsburgh Courier, two of the top African American newspapers.
The first African American to be honored with a state statue in the National Statuary Hall Collection at the U.S. Capitol was Bethune on July 13, 2022.
Bethune in Education
Bethune took a strong stance about African American children needing to be in the classrooms. She thought that by getting an education, African Americans would be able to start making a life in a nation that was still opposed to racial equality. Bethune was a relentless worker who refused to stop until "a single Negro kid or girl without an opportunity to establish her worth" was eliminated. Thirty years after her passing, in 1985, a United States Postal Stamp honoring Mary McLeod Bethune was released in recognition of her achievements and services to society.
One of her key objectives was to impart knowledge to African American women on how to support their family and improve their homes for the future. Through this objective, she founded the Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School for Girls.
She was the institution's founder and president, and she frequently invited the white leaders of the city to the campus for religious and cultural events. Bethune was able to gain funding for the public works projects thanks to her connection with Franklin and Eleanor Roosevelt, which won the white population of the city over to Bethune and her institution.
Many well-off Daytona Beach citizens were invited by Bethune to attend her school, where she displayed the focus, work ethics, and want to learn of her kids. She requested the school's board of trustees and these benefactors for donations when the institution started to face financial difficulties. Additionally, she was able to approach the members of the support groups she founded, including white clubwomen and the wives of powerful men. The African American community, however, remained her primary and primary source of support since she started in 1904, thus she continued to rely on them.
Daytona Educational and Industrial Training School, known as Bethune-Cookman College since 1943, has produced 9,500 graduates who have returned to their communities to make a difference as a result of Bethune's efforts.
Bethune continued her efforts to education reform and equality until her death on May 18, 1955, at age 79.
Horace Mann Background
Franklin, Massachusetts is where Horace Mann was born on May 4, 1796. His father was a struggling farmer. He attended school for little more than six weeks a year from the age of 10 to twenty, but he nevertheless used the Franklin Public Library, the country's first public library. He enrolled in Brown University at the age of twenty and graduated as valedictorian after three years. The progressive nature of the human race served as the topic of his speech. From Samuel Barrett, who eventually rose to prominence as a Unitarian clergyman, he learnt Greek and Latin. He then briefly pursued a law degree at Wrentham, Massachusetts, while working as a Latin and Greek tutor and librarian at Brown. He attended Litchfield Law School in 1822 as well, and in 1823 he was admitted to the Massachusetts bar in Dedham.
When Mann was elected to the Massachusetts legislature in 1827, he worked to promote public charities, education, and legislation to outlaw gambling and alcoholic beverages. In Worcester, he founded an asylum, and in 1833, he served as the board of trustees' chairman. Up until his transfer to Boston in 1833, Mann was still elected as a representative from Dedham to the assembly. He served on the committee for the revision of the state statutes while he was a member of the legislature and served as its chairman for a while. At his recommendation, many helpful provisions were added to the code. He was chosen to be one of the work's editors once they were passed, and he created the marginal notes and legal precedent references. In 1835, he was elected to the Massachusetts State Senate from Boston, and in 1836–1837, he served as its president. He served as majority leader in the Senate for a period and prioritized infrastructure, helping to fund the building of railroads and canals.
Mann in Education
Mann used his position to implement significant educational change after being chosen to serve as Secretary of the newly established Massachusetts Board of Education in 1837. He was the driving force behind the Common School Movement, which made sure that every child could have a fundamental education paid for by local taxes. His influence quickly grew as many states adopted the concept of universal education, going beyond Massachusetts.
Mann's dedication to the Common School stemmed from his conviction that education—specifically, a foundational level of reading and the inculcation of common public ideals—was essential for ensuring social harmony and political stability. He stated, "It may be fairly maintained that the Common School...may become the most effective and beneficent of all forces of civilization, without undervaluing any other human action."
Public education, in Mann's opinion, is essential for fostering responsible citizenship, democratic involvement, and societal well-being. A republican form of governance, he said, "must be, on a huge scale, what a madhouse, without superintendent or keepers, would be on a little one, without intellect among the people." Our beliefs about public education have been shaped by the democratic and republican principles that drove Mann's conception of the Common School ever since.
Mann had a significant impact on the establishment of teacher education programs and the earliest initiatives to professionalize education. Although James Carter had previously advocated for state-sponsored teacher training institutions in the 1820s, he was instrumental in the 1838 founding of the first Normal Schools in Massachusetts. Mann was aware that improving instruction was the key to raising the caliber of rural schools. He also understood that the majority of the teachers for the new Common Schools would likely be female, and he pushed vehemently (if, by modern standards, somewhat insultingly) for the hiring of female teachers, frequently through the Normal Schools. All of these advances were a result of Mann's unwavering commitment to establishing a successful, secular, all-inclusive educational system in the United States.
Oliver Brown Background
Born August 19, 1918 in Springfield, Missouri, was an African American welder and Reverend. Brown was the plaintiff in the famous 1954 U.S. Supreme Court case Oliver Brown, et al. v. Board of Education of Topeka, et al. He was enlisted to take part in the 1950 court battle led by the Topeka NAACP to integrate the area's public elementary schools.
Rev. Brown was born the product of a poverty-riddled environment and a broken home. Prior to being pushed into the spotlight in the Brown case, Reverend Oliver S. Brown led a very quiet existence. However, he utilized the Topeka experience as the foundation for his work in support of the desegregation of Springfield, Missouri's public facilities. Rev. Brown defied the expectations that a poor Black man could not make a substantial contribution to his community, state, and nation.
Reverend Brown in Education
Rev. Brown went before the Supreme Court with all eyes watching during the deliberations in the case Brown v. Board of Education from 1952 to 1954. This case involved the unification of lawsuits involving the racial segregation of public schools from Kansas, South Carolina, Virginia, Delaware, and Washington, D.C. Due to legislation authorizing racial segregation in public education, African American pupils were refused admission in each case. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment, they said, was broken by this form of segregation. According to Plessy v. Ferguson, which determined that racially segregated public facilities were acceptable as long as they provided equal access to both blacks and whites, the plaintiffs were denied redress in the lower courts. (This concept was referred to as "separate but equal").
The major question proposed to the Supreme Court was “Does the segregation of public education based solely on race violate the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment?”
After months of deliberations and presentations from both sides, the Supreme Court came to the conclusion that Separate but equal educational facilities for racial minorities is inherently unequal, violating the Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment.
The unanimous Court's opinion was delivered by Chief Justice Earl Warren. The Equal Protection Clause of the Fourteenth Amendment is violated by "separate but equal" facilities, according to the Supreme Court, since they are fundamentally unfair. The Court reasoned that racial segregation in public school fostered an attitude of inferiority that was extremely damaging to African American children's education and psychological development. Warren often relied on data from social science studies for his arguments rather than legal precedent. Warren believed that it was essential for all Americans to comprehend the decision's logic, thus the ruling also utilized language that was reasonably understandable to non-lawyers.
Brown continued to fight for education reform up until his premature death in 1961 at the age of 42, which paralleled Dr. Martin Luther King's untimely death, and the two men were comparable in numerous ways.
John Dewey Background
American philosopher, psychologist, and educational reformer John Dewey is known for his theories on social and educational change. In the first part of the 20th century, he was one of the most well-known American scholars.
Dewey was born on October 20, 1859 in Burlington, Vermont to a family of modest means. He was one of the four sons born to Lucina Artemisia Rich Dewey and Archibald Sprague Dewey. John was the name of their second child, who perished in an accident on January 17, 1859. Forty weeks after his older brother's passing, on October 20, 1859, the second John Dewey was born. He attended the University of Vermont, where he was initiated into Delta Psi and Phi Beta Kappa in 1879, like his older, surviving brother, Davis Rich Dewey. Henry Augustus Pearson Torrey (H. A. P. Torrey), the son-in-law and nephew of previous University of Vermont president Joseph Torrey, was a notable Dewey professor at the University of Vermont. Between Dewey's graduation from Vermont and his admission at Johns Hopkins University, Torrey taught him privately.
Dewey later received his Ph.D. from the School of Arts & Sciences at Johns Hopkins University after teaching for two years as a high-school teacher in Oil City, Pennsylvania, and one year as an elementary school teacher in the small town of Charlotte, Vermont, before deciding that he was unsuited for teaching primary or secondary school.
Dewey is one of the men who helped form The New School, together with the historians Charles A. Beard, James Harvey Robinson, and Thorstein Veblen. Dewey authored almost 40 books and more than 700 articles that were published in 140 periodicals.
Dewey in Education
In the first part of the 20th century, he was one of the most well-known American scholars.
His fervent belief in democracy, whether in politics, education, or communication and journalism, was the resounding theme of Dewey's writings. While still a student at the University of Michigan, Dewey said in 1888, "To my understanding, democracy and the one, supreme, ethical aim of humanity are synonymous." In order to promote experimental intelligence and plurality, Dewey believed that two key components—schools and civil society—need to be rebuilt. A completely developed public opinion, he claimed, must exist in order for democracy to be fully realized. This is accomplished by communication between citizens, experts, and politicians, with the latter being held accountable for the policies they choose.
Dewey is regarded as one of the founders of functional psychology and was one of the key personalities connected to the pragmatist school of thought. Its publication in 1896, "The Reflex Arc Concept in Psychology," is recognized as the founding document of the (Chicago) functionalist school of psychology. Dewey was listed as the 93rd most-cited psychologist of the 20th century in a study conducted by the Review of General Psychology and released in 2002.
Dewey played a significant role in 20th-century educational reform. He was a prominent advocate for liberal thought and progressive education and was a well-known public thinker. He established the University of Chicago Laboratory Schools as a professor there, allowing him to put his cutting-edge pedagogical theories to the test. Dewey wrote on a wide range of subjects, including epistemology, metaphysics, aesthetics, art, logic, social theory, and ethics, though he is best recognized for his works on education.
Carrot-Top is Proud to Support American Education and Recognize Education Reform
Here at Carrot-Top Industries, we are proud to back the education sector with any-and-all their patriotic needs. We recognize that education for society is crucial since it is the only way for people to learn about many socioeconomic aspects, healthy living, and how to end poverty and inequality in the country.
We are proud to be celebrating these four pioneers of American Education this month. We encourage you to display your patriotic décor to celebrate them and continuing education reform today!