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Jay S. Stowell (Jay Samuel), 1883-1966
Methodist Adventures in Negro Education
New York: The Methodist Book Concern, [c1922].


In Methodist Adventures in Negro Education (1922), Jay S. Stowell proceeds from the premise that "the progress which the Negro has made along the highway of learning is a matter of common and vital concern to all of us." He discusses the opposition to education during slavery. This lack of education at the time of Emancipation resulted in a sense that "the ability to read and write was the golden key to unlock the riches of the world." Stowell devotes the remainder of the book to the role the Methodist Episcopal Church has played in meeting this educational need. He traces the evolution of the Church's Board of Education for Negroes, but his primary focus is on individual institutions of education throughout the South.

Stowell presents sketches of twenty different institutions, such as Clark University, Gammon Theological Seminary, and Meharry Medical College. (He also appends a complete listing of schools under the auspices of the Methodist Episcopal Church.) The sketches contain a variety of information about school histories, curriculum, faculty, administrators, students, alumni, and buildings. Stowell also addresses the high demand for these schools. The "new Negro," he writes, is "alert, intelligent, capable, self-reliant," and he is characterized by "his hunger for an education." Stowell explains that this results in seriously overcrowded schools, and he stresses the need for more financial support. Stowell ends by highlighting the advances of African Americans as educators within these institutions, and he praises the speed with which they have assumed some of the financial responsibilities.

Andrew Leiter

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