12 Black Pioneers Whose Contributions Undoubtedly Changed Education in America


Mary McLeod Bethune (July 10, 1875 – May 18, 1955)

Bethune founded Bethune-Cookman College for African-Americans in 1931. She was an educator her entire adult life, and she believed in the value of educating young people. She served on President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s cabinet as an adviser about Black issues. As a political figure, she created the Federal Council of Negro Affairs in the 1930s.


Booker T. Washington (April 5, 1856 – Nov. 14, 1915)

Probably the most famous Black educator ever, Washington founded the teachers’ college Tuskegee Institute for Blacks in 1881 in Alabama and was famous for teaching African-Americans to help themselves through education and hard work. Washington was one of the earliest leaders in the Black community. He was famous for the Atlanta compromise and for his political savvy and oratory skills.

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  1. Proud to be in such company….Dt. Deborah D. Dancy, Educator (Boston)