To Advance the Race

Black Women's Higher Education from the Antebellum Era to the 1960s
Author: Linda M. Perkins
A long-awaited look at the accomplishments of the talented tenth of African American women
Cloth – $125
Paper – $27.95
eBook – $14.95
Publication Date
Paperback: 04/09/2024
Cloth: 04/09/2024
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About the Book

From the United States' earliest days, African Americans considered education essential for their freedom and progress. Linda M. Perkins’s study ranges across educational and geographical settings to tell the stories of Black women and girls as students, professors, and administrators. Beginning with early efforts and the establishment of abolitionist colleges, Perkins follows the history of Black women's post–Civil War experiences at elite white schools and public universities in northern and midwestern states. Their presence in Black institutions like Howard University marked another advancement, as did Black women becoming professors and administrators. But such progress intersected with race and education in the postwar era. As gender questions sparked conflict between educated Black women and Black men, it forced the former to contend with traditional notions of women’s roles even as the 1960s opened educational opportunities for all African Americans.

A first of its kind history, To Advance the Race is an enlightening look at African American women and their multi-generational commitment to the ideal of education as a collective achievement.

About the Author

Linda M. Perkins is a professor and the director of Applied Gender Studies Department at Claremont Graduate University. She is the author of Fanny Jackson Coppin and the Institute for Colored Youth, 1865–1902. For more information, please go to:



“The subjects of this meticulous research are all unified by the struggle to assert their intellectual and academic authority in an era in which Black women were systematically denied access to higher education. Building upon decades worth of research, Perkins brings forward a comprehensive view of all the places where Black women influenced higher education.”--Marcia Chatelain, Pulitzer Prize–winning author of Franchise: The Golden Arches in Black America