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Ophelia Settle Egypt
Transcript of Ophelia Settle Egypt
Alpha Chapter - 1930
a little Social Justice
Dr. Clare Corbould in the 1970's uncovered the missing interviews among other materials from the researchers and in 1972, Fisk University published 41 volumes of the slave narratives as an alternative to the traditional view of history.
Ophelia Settle Egypt conducted some of the first and finest interviews with former slaves, setting the stage for the Works Progress Administration’s (WPA) massive project ten years later. In 1936, the first interviews with former slaves are conducted by the project, which continues into the early 1940s, amounting to several thousand oral histories.
Over the course of her career Settle helped expose the infamous Tuskegee study of syphilis among black sharecroppers, and played a leading role in Charles Johnson’s "Shadow of the Plantation" study of the sharecropper system.
Mrs. Egypt was personal friends with Langston Hughes and influenced and collaborated with many other authors throughout her life.
Mrs. Egypt was the most avid reader one could image but luckily for her, her educational level left her among the company of many literary giants of her day.
Award Winning Service
In 1981, three days before her death, the mayor proclaimed a day in her honor, and the family planning center was named after her in Washington, D.C.
Professor Johnson apparently relied on his associate researcher's for "at least a decade's work of publications", taking all the credit from his young black female assistants.
Mrs. Egypt left Fisk University in 1933 having received no recognition for her contribution, and became a prominent social worker.
She also used the perspective slave accounts in
, which was never published, and as far as she knew the interviews were lost. After petitioning Fisk University to use them after Professor Johnson's death, seeking them to finish it in the 1960's, but was stonewalled.
BlackPast.org - Remembered & Reclaimed. (2011). Egypt, Ophelia Settle (1903-1984). Retrieved from http://www.blackpast.org/aah/egypt-ophelia-settle-1903-1981
Fisk University. (2014). Fisk University history. Retrieved from http://www.fisk.edu/about/history
National Association of Social Workers. (2004). NASW social work pioneers. Retrieved from http://www.naswfoundation.org/pioneers/e/egypt.htm
Stevenson, L. L. (2011). The new woman, social science, and the Harlem Renaissance: Ophelia Settle Egypt as black professional. The Journal of Southern History, 77(3), 555-594.
Vergnani, L. (2013). Forgotten voices reveal history in black and white. Chronicle of Higher Education, 00095982,
Ophelia Settle Egypt
Fisk University founded in 1866, shortly after the end of the Civil War, is a historically black university, and is the oldest institution of higher learning in Nashville, Tennessee.
In 1930, Fisk University became the first African-American institution to gain accreditation by the Southern Association of Colleges and School.
In 1929, Mrs Egypt was working as a researcher at Fish University for a sociologist named Professor Charles S. Johnson.
She persuaded Professor Johnson to interview former slaves and record their experiential accounts.
Of about 100 transcripts that emerged from that study, 37 formed the basis for a published collection,
Unwritten History of Slavery
Mrs. Egypt made her way from Howard University (1921-1925), earned a master's degree in sociology at the University of Pennsylvania (1926-1928), and became the protege of the first black president of Fisk University (1946-1956). An education level obtained by less than 1 percent of Americans at the time.
Mrs. Egypt was occupied with full-time social work first in St. Louis and in her next position as director of social service at Flint-Goodridge Hospital in New Orleans. Mrs. Egypt also coauthored
Social Work Today
, a known outlet for advanced progressive positions.
Mrs. Egypt became the first director when Planned Parenthood of Metropolitan Washington opened the first private family planning clinic in Southeast Washington, DC, from 1956-1968.
Mrs. Egypt went door-to-door, spoke at neighborhood gatherings, handed out literature at public housing projects, and reached out to others in every possible way. Advocating that family planning was a means of empowerment that gave women and men more control over their economic condition.
Mrs. Egypt was a teacher at many universities throughout her professional career as well, including many of the universities that assisted in her educations.