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Sat, 12.21.1907

The National Colored Teachers Association is Formed

Association letter

*The National Colored Teachers Association was celebrated on this date in 1907. and National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools was a professional association and teachers' union representing teachers in Black schools in the American South during legal segregation. In 1906, at a Negro Young Peoples Christian and Educational Congress meeting, the National Colored Teachers Association was formed.

In 1907, to reflect that many white teachers also worked in colored schools, the name was changed to the National Association of Teachers in Colored Schools (NATCS). Blacks had been disfranchised since the end of slavery. The members were dealing with segregated schools in the South. White-dominated legislatures had imposed additional racial segregation and Jim Crow laws. With blacks closed out of the political process, educators found that black public schools in the segregated states were historically underfunded, and their teachers were paid less than white teachers in white schools. 

1923 was a pivotal year for the organization. Mary McLeod Bethune became its first female president, and it published its first edition of The Bulletin, the official magazine. The magazine "was a bridge between the members of the Association, and it served to inform the public and interpret NATCS to those who did not attend the annual meetings."

In 1926, an informal NEA committee was appointed to study issues in schools serving Black students. The 1927 president was William J. Hale, the first president of Tennessee State University. In 1937, members changed the American Teachers Association (ATA). The ATA worked jointly with the National Education Association (NEA) on issues related to African American education. That began a period of cooperation between the two associations. Purpose

The ATA did not support collective bargaining for its members. Instead, they sought to improve the status of education for Blacks in the South by: 

1. Improving teaching methods.

2. Urging legislation for the improvement of schools.

3. Collecting and publishing data covering the material contributions that Negroes were making toward their education.

4. Building more and better schoolhouses through fund-raising efforts. (Among these in the 1930s were schools built with the help of the Rosenwald Fund and monies raised by local black communities)

5. Supplementing teachers' income and pushing for an extended school year.

6. Co-operating with local public school boards.

7. Broadening the Association's scope to include private and religious schools. 

The ATA and NEA began to consider a merger in the early 1960s because of changes in education and the American Civil Rights movement. Following the United States Supreme Court ruling in Brown v. Board of Education (1954), public schools were gradually integrated after massive resistance. In 1963, the ATA voted a "qualified recommendation" in favor of a merger completed in 1966. The name of the merged association remained the National Education Association.

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