FAQs about Nannie Helen Burroughs
Discover more about a hero in African-American history with the Nannie Helen Burroughs Project, based in Annapolis, Maryland. As a black activist, Burroughs was at the forefront of a racial revolution in our country. Contact us today to learn more.
Q. Was Nannie Helen Burroughs well known during her life time?
A. Yes. She was well known and respected in our country and throughout the world because of her activities at home and abroad. Please see her activities on the Documents Page in the aritcle entitled, "Who was Nannie Helen Burroughs and Why Should We Care?"
Q. Why is so little written about her that she is not well known today?
A. One theory is that most historians were male, and she fought sexism in every aspect of society. A second theory is that shortly after she passed in 1961, many important things happened to overshadow her accomplisments, such as Civil Rights Legislation and the assassinations of John F. Kennedy, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X. A third reason may be the fact that she was known as a "truth-teller" who challenged society to make America a better place for our children, e.g., her "12 Things..." on the Documents page.
Q. What was her philosophy for the National Training School for Negro Women and Girls founded in 1909?
A. She believed in the 3 R's and 3 B's, "Reading, Riting and Rithematic" and "Bible, Bath and Broom" signifying clean lives, clean bodies, and clean homes. Additionally, as a close friend of Booker T. Washington, Burroughs embraced his industrial educational philosophy. However, she established a Bi-Lateral education curriculm which included the views of W.E.B. Du Bois.
Q. How was she so well-known throughout the country and world?
A. In 1902, she traveled 32,350 miles in the United States doing the work of the newly created Baptist Women's Auxiliary, without compensation. In 1905, she was the keynote speaker at the First Baptist World Alliance Congress in Hyde Park, London. Negro women and girls from Africa and the Caribbean attended her school in Northeast Washington, DC.
Q. What was Nannie Helen Burroughs level of formal education?
A. She was an 1896 graduate of Washington, DC's M Street School, now Dunbar High School, and did some business school studies in Louisville, Kentucky. Shaw University presented her with an Honorary Doctorate Degree in 1944. Burroughs believed that a student achieving a college degree should come out and work in the school system and exhaust that level of learning before pursuing higher degrees.
Q. Was she married?
A. No. Just as was the case with her close friend Carter G. Woodson, she was married to her work. Her life was dedicated to her school, the church, and efforts on the national political scene.
Q. What was her political party?
A. She was in the Republican Party, which is viewed by many as having the political views now of the Democratic Party. However, her views and actions suggest that she was in a party, but not of a party. She had stern words for all politicians and particularly the leaders in both parties. In a 1928 article, Vote for Justice and Jobs, Burroughs declared: "In the meantime, you vote for the man in whom you conscientiously believe without coersion, coin or compromise." In today's environment, Burroughs might advocate for a party where Blacks could leverage power with whatever party might be in control, an idea suggested, as you study the views, by other past leaders.
Q. How do I get more information about Nannie Helen Burroughs?
A. Simply go to your browser and key Nannie Helen Burroughs into the search box.
Contact us today in Annapolis, Maryland, for details about this icon of African-American history.