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Southern Education Foundation Records
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The Southern Education Foundation (SEF) was created in 1937 through the consolidation of four philanthropic educational foundations: the George Peabody Fund (1867), the John F. Slater Fund (1882), the Negro Rural School Fund (1907), and the Virginia Randolph Fund (1937). The SEF continued the mission of its predecessors - to increase educational opportunities for African Americans and other disadvantaged citizens in the South. The SEF and its predecessors provided financial assistance to increase the number of teachers and their level of training, and funds for building construction and other educational activities. Through this work, reports and studies were produced that described the programs and activities the Funds supported in the effort to improve public education in the South. The SEF continues this work today as a public charity supporting research, public policy initiatives, and programs that help to achieve equal educational opportunities for minority students in states where the legacy of racial segregation still exists.
The Southern Education Foundation Records include documentation on its four predecessor organizations as well as SEF activities up to 1979. The records consist of administrative files including correspondence, reports, minutes, financial papers and photographs. Of interest are the applications from the institutions and states seeking support from the Funds. These applications provide information about the student population, faculty and administrators, salaries, budget, conditions of schools, curriculum and educational programs. Well documented is the Jeanes Teachers program. Initially funded in 1908 by the Negro Rural School Fund (also referred to by its founder Anna T. Jeanes Fund/Foundation), the SEF continued this project until 1968. In the early years the Jeanes Teachers traveled to rural areas in the South with high populations of minorities and taught classes on industrial subjects such as sewing, canning, basketry, and woodworking. Over the years the focus evolved to help improve the educational programs through curriculum development and teacher training. SEF records from the 1960s and 1970s include reports and studies related to desegregation of schools and early childhood education.
For more information about the current activities of the Southern Education Foundation click here