In Kentucky, where many poor adult workers did not know how to read or write, Cora Stewart started her Moonlight School in 1911.
On moonlit nights, thousands of students, from their late teens to their mid-eighties, showed up for classes.
Even though they had almost no money, several dedicated African American women teachers set up schools for black children in the South.
Mary McLeod Bethune opened an elementary school for girls in 1904 in Daytona, Florida, with little more than a dollar.
In the next twenty years, she added a high school and nursing and teacher training programs; she then joined forces with another school to form Bethune-Cookman College for African American women and men.
In 1909 in Washington, D.C., Nannie Helen Burroughs helped start a major, vocational school for black women. It encouraged students by claiming, “We specialize in the wholly impossible.”
Most schoolteachers were single women; if a woman got married while teaching, she often lost her job.
It was an important victory when, in 1914, Henrietta Rodman and other New York City women won the right to continue teaching after they married.