Term of Award

1999

Degree Name

Doctor of Education in Curriculum Studies

Document Type and Release Option

Dissertation (restricted to Georgia Southern)

Department

Department of Educational Administration

Committee Chair

Edmund Short

Committee Member 1

Grigory Dmitriyev

Committee Member 2

Peggy G. Hargis

Committee Member 3

Jane A. Page

Abstract

Dreams Do Come True: How Rural One- and Two-Room Schools Influenced the Lives of African Americans in Burke County. Georgia, 1930-1955uses oral histories from students, teachers, Jeanes supervising teachers, and parents as well as primary and secondary resources to look at rural schools in the "Black Belt" of Georgia from the years following the Great Depression to the conclusion of school consolidation in 1955. The African American child was considered a major member in the work force for the plantation system of fanning. Schools, therefore, became political arms of the communities in which they were located. The recollections and reflections of the participants tell the story of the schools' educational significance as well as giving insight into rural southern culture. Students, teachers, Jeanes supervising teachers, and parents reported their feelings about the poor educational facilities and the curriculum that was taught with little to no equipment. Through these lived experiences, the dreams for an education by both the children and the parents are examined in light ofthe social, economic, and political conditions that affected the education in rural Georgia between the years 1930- 1955. These voices speak ofthis educational process, the dreams for social advancement, and the achievements of these rural people that were answers to their dreams. Parental involvement to assure advancement of rural African American children was the dream that made the rural one- and two-room schools a place for the possibility of upward mobility for those living in the small agrarian-based communities. The dreams of betterment for the children over what the parents had experienced became the ladder of success through which the teachers and Jeanes supervising teachers encouraged education for betterment of self and the African American people as a whole. This drive for advancement was found in the perception of what African American communities determined would fit their ideals of a better life for their children. These dreams did come true for many African American children in rural Burke County, Georgia, between 1930- 1955.

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