Black History in Education

Historic accounts of education

A look back at the history of segregation in the Appalachian Mountains.

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Soldiers in Petticoats

Soldiers in Petticoats

Betty Jamerson Reed unfolds the pioneer experiences of influential educational leaders.

school segregation in western north carolina

School Segregation in Western North Carolina

This book documents early efforts to educate black children, improve schools and the process of desegregation.

The Brevard Rosenwald School

The Brevard Rosenwald School

This book is a history of the school and its attempts to improve the education of African Americans in the South.

researcher, author, and retired educator

Meet The Author

Betty Jamerson Reed

A retired educator with an interest in the history of Appalachian missions, Betty Jamerson Reed has rigorously researched the lives of three school founders.

Reed spotlights Sophia Sawyer, a committed instructor of Cherokees; Emily Prudden, a master builder of fifteen schools; and Martha Berry, an untrained educator who turned ignorant boys and girls into active learners. The author, a graduate of Bryan College, reveals details of their battle to overcome barriers confronting the youth of Appalachia.

Reed’s previous books identified the accomplishments of black and white educators in their crusade to overcome the limitations of a segregated education: The Brevard Rosenwald School: Black Education and Community Building in a Southern Appalachian Town, 1920-1966 (McFarland, 2004) and School Segregation in Western North Carolina: A History, 1860s-1970s (McFarland, 2011).

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What Others Say

Brevard Rosenwald School: “outstanding…meticulously documented, engagingly written, and insightful”

American Association for State and Local History

School Segregation in Western North Carolina: “a detailed, thoroughly researched and well-documented history…well written and interesting to read”

AASLH Narrative

School Segregation in Western North Carolina: “a needed contribution to an underrepresented area of study in Appalachian and African American history”

The Journal of Southern History

School Segregation in Western North Carolina: “in these 264 pages are found failures and successes, laughter and tears, statistics and inspiration. All blend together to both explain and preserve a century and more of educational yearning, neglect, striving, and, to some extent, success”

The Transylvania Times

Soldiers in Petticoats: The author unpacks the social and political foundations of the area’s pervasive poverty as she specifically highlights three women whose actions helped its future generations. A well-researched study on the lives and legacies of women who sought to empower others.

Appalachian Educators Kirkus Review

Soldiers in Petticoats is a book to read and discuss! Soldiers in Petticoats is an invaluable resource for anyone who is interested in the history of education, women’s history, mountain missions, or simply an inspiring story.

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From The Blog

Latest Articles

15  May

By: Betty Reed

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Women who make a difference

This month I urge you to read my book, Soldiers in Petticoats ...

15  April

By: Betty Reed

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Sharing a Poem or Two

April was launched as National Poetry Month in 1996 to celebrate poetry and its role in American culture ...

15  Mar

By: Betty Reed

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A Promise to Gromer Luther

Scrounging around in a seldom used drawer, I discovered an ancient autograph book with a leather cover ...