Education for Citizenship: African-Americans and Native Americans
Kim Warren

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



University of Kansas

Primary Discipline

This project is a comparative study of the history of segregated education and the development of American identities. The project chronicles the experiences of students and teachers in Native American and African American missionary, government, and public schools between 1865 and 1935. Educators expected all students to become “American,” but they expected different outcomes based on race and gender. I argue that Native Americans were to use their educations to assimilate, even disappear, into white society, while African Americans were to learn how to be workers maintaining a distinct position on the margins of white society.In the second section of the project, I argue that Native Americans and African Americans had distinct ways of asserting themselves in response to the efforts of reformers. Native American students fended for themselves as individuals; African American adults acted on behalf of students, calling for improved educational opportunities and integration into white schools. The last part of the project demonstrates that when a generation of Native American and African American students became teachers themselves, they inserted race pride and ethnic studies into their curricular and extracurricular activities. In their new leadership positions, they redefined American identity for their students to include ethnic characteristics and pride as well as an effort to find positions within the dominant culture. The result of this study is an analysis of the meaning of American identity within two marginalized groups on a local and national landscape.
About Kim Warren

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