All ETDs from UAB

Advisory Committee Chair

Lois M Christensen

Advisory Committee Members

Horace Huntley

Grace Jepkemboi

Lynn Kirkland

Tonya Perry

Document Type


Date of Award


Degree Name by School

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD) School of Education


MARY CHURCH TERRELL: A HISTORICAL CASE STUDY OF A PIONEER OF FROEBELIAN KINDERGARTENS FOR AFRICAN AMERICAN CHILDREN 1896-1901 VERNESSA ELAINE CURRY EARLY CHILDHOOD EDUCATION ABSTRACT The purpose of this historical case study was to explore the role of Mary Church Terrell in advancing Froebelian kindergartens for African American children 1896-1901. Historical documents, records, photographs, video, and observations were used in the data collection process. The following questions guided this study: "How did the social, political, and economic context of the Progressive Era affect African American women?" "How was Mary Church Terrell's family and educational history essential to her role in advancing Froebelian kindergartens for African American children?" "How was the history of early childhood education for African Americans established?" "How did Mary Church Terrell promote Froebelian kindergartens for African American children?" There were two participants who were interviewed for this study. The African American women of the Progessive Era took great pride in their children and the education of them. They wanted to nurture them in their early years through the Froebelian kindergartens. Findings of the study revealed that there were Froebelian kindergartens in the United States for African American children well before the study years of 1896-1901. The findings also show that Mary Church Terrell and the National Association of Colored Women (NACW) mission was the establishment of Froebelian kindergartens. The first department established in the NACW was the kindergarten department. Mary Church Terrell and other middle-class African American women bonded together for racial uplift and support at a time when self-help was crucial to the African American race. This study could add to the limited amount of information available on the history of African American early childhood education, especially in the area of Froebelian kindergartens.

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