Every day this month, the Center for Black Educator Development, in partnership with Phillys7thWard.org and Citizen Ed, will highlight a Black Educator Hall of Famer. But, don’t forget, e’ry month is Black History Month…February is just the Blackest.
Today, our featured Black Educator Hall of Fame Member is Margaret Louise Laney.
Margaret was born on May 25, 1900 in Washington D.C. She was the daughter of two parents in the medical field; her mother, a nurse and her father a doctor and graduate of Howard medical school. Also, she was the niece of fellow Black Educator Hall of Fame member Lucy Craft Laney.
Louise, as she was affectionately known, lost her mother at a young age. To support her, her father elected to send Louise to Augusta, GA to be raised by her aunt – Lucy Craft Laney. When she arrived, her aunt enrolled Louise a that Haines Normal and Industrial Institute. This was the school that Lucy Craft Laney founded and served as the lead person in charge.
According to Louise Laney, her skills as a speaker (which would serve her well in her career) took shape at Haines:
“We learned to speak before the public… And everybody had a chance to get up before the rest of them and speak. You either gave an address, or you recited a poem, or something like that. But everybody was given a chance to get up before the public so you could have poise and all.”
When Louise Laney graduated from Haines, attended and graduated from Atlanta University (currently Clark-Atlanta University) with her undergraduate degree and Columbia University’s teacher college with her master’s degree. After receiving her masters, Louise Laney returned to Augusta to begin her career, as opposed to what her family in Washington D.C. expected.
Louise Laney dedicated her professional career to the children of Richmond County, GA, specifically the children of Augusta. While she engaged with a career as a probation officer for 18 years, Louise Laney never abandoned the classroom. She would return to the classroom after her career as a probation officer. She would spend the next 30 years as a teacher. She even served as principal of the Haines school as it transitioned to new leadership, immediately following the death of Lucy Craft Laney.
But Louise Laney’s dedication to her aunt, who was also like a mother to her, didn’t stop there.
Louise Laney worked to ensure that her aunt’s legacy was maintained in the state of Georgia. Margaret Louise was present when the portrait of her aunt, Lucy C. Laney, was unveiled at the state capitol by then-Georgia Governor Jimmy Carter, and at the renaming of Gwinnett Street to the Laney-Walker Boulevard. But it was Louise Laney’s love for students and care for their education that established her own legacy in Georgia as an educator and advocate.
Margaret Louise Laney; a member of the Black Educator Hall of Fame.
For more information on Margaret Louise Laney, visit the following site.