Term of Award

Spring 2013

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies (Ed.D.)

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (open access)

Copyright Statement / License for Reuse

Creative Commons License
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.


Department of Curriculum, Foundations, and Reading

Committee Chair

Daniel E. Chapman

Committee Member 1

Marla Morris

Committee Member 2

Donyell Roseboro

Committee Member 3

John Weaver

Committee Member 3 Email



The purpose of this dissertation is to explore the cultural influences on the lives of northern teachers in southern schools. During the 1860s, white, northern, middle-class women traveled to southern homes to begin and maintain schools for the recently freed slaves. Each woman carried with her an independent set of cultural systems that predetermined her perspective for educating the African American students. Furthermore, the northern relief agencies, Freedmen's Bureau agents, southern white citizens, and southern freedmen all had their own opinions for the education of the students. Although much time has elapsed between the 1860s and 2013, the same topics and contextual forces are again relevant to northern teachers who embark on new careers in southern schools. Although the Emancipation Proclamation symbolically freed millions of slaves, equal opportunities and conditions were not immediately granted to the freedmen. Instead, teachers and relief workers supported northern, Protestant goals for the economy of the nation that required the continued labor of the freedmen in fields. While conflicts arose between members of both races regarding the intentions of the northern teachers, the women also challenged the traditional role for the 19th century woman in both northern and southern society. As the female teachers navigated their own perceptions of race and gender, religious, economic, and political institutions also impacted the daily curriculum of the classroom through systems of control and obedience. Despite over one hundred and fifty years of time between the arrivals of the first northern teachers during the Civil War, many conditions stay the same in southern schools. The connections made between past and present are built around my own experiences in the southern classroom, yet they can be applied to the lives of other northern women navigating today's southern classrooms.

Research Data and Supplementary Material