Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Two African American Women Who Spearheaded Early AAFCS Accreditation in Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Academic journal article Journal of Family and Consumer Sciences

Two African American Women Who Spearheaded Early AAFCS Accreditation in Historically Black Colleges and Universities

Article excerpt

Abstract: There is a void in the literature concerning African American women and their contributions to the Family and Consumer Sciences profession. This article is an attempt to provide information about the efforts and involvement of two African American women-Drs. Flossie Byrd and Eula Masingale-both deans of Family and Consumer Sciences who worked to obtain AAFCS accreditation for their programs in historically Black colleges and universities. These two individuals were selected because of their pioneering efforts and the quality of leadership given to the development of the accreditation process and to their own programs.

The career patterns of African American women in Family and Consumer Sciences programs and the positions they have held in the American Association oz family ana Consumer Sciences (AAFCS) are both indicative of their involvement and contributions to the profession. Two such women who took leadership positions at their own colleges and in their profession serve to illustrate an important force in undergraduate education programs in Family and Consumer Sciences.

African American women in Family and Consumer Sciences have become department heads, directors, and deans of units in Black institutions as well as in predominantly White institutions. Some have moved into university-wide administrative positions such as vice president and provost. Yet, the literature is meager regarding the involvement and contributions of African American women in the American educational system. Some African American female educators are mentioned in Afro-American history sources (Collier-Thomas, 1982) or in special issues of journals and books devoted to minorities such as the 1982 Summer Yearbook of The Journal of Negro Education (Collier-Thomas, 1982), the 1988 Yearbook of Home Economics Teacher Education (Williams, 1988), and the 1995 Summer issue of Innovative Higher Education (Atwater, 1995).

According to Ralston (1996), many African American women have served as pioneers in the development of Family and Consumer Sciences in higher education, but few attempts have been made to tell their stories. Therefore, this article seeks to tell the story of two such contemporary women at historically Black colleges and universities: Dr. Flossie Byrd, appointed dean in 1964 at Prairie View A&M in Prairie View, Texas, and Dr. Eula Masingale, appointed dean in 1976 at Southern University in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.

Byrd and Masingale are leaders who have risen through the university ranks to become deans of Family and Consumer Sciences units. While others have held similar administrative posts, the uniqueness of the contributions of these two women lies in their decision to promote quality in their units by subscribing to and receiving AAFCS accreditation. Among the Family and Consumer Sciences units in historically Black colleges and universities that have been accredited, units at Prairie View A&M, guided by Byrd, and Southern University, led by Masingale, were accredited second and fifth, respectively. In addition, Masingale led Alcorn State University in Lorman, Mississippi, through AAFCS accreditation.

Methodology and Context

The document analysis approach was used to develop this article. Data were gathered from personal vitae, articles printed in daily newspapers in the participants' community, bulletins and newsletters from the participants' universities, and letters of recommendations included with the personal vitae material. Archives at Prairie View A&M University and Southern University were used for informational purposes.

The question guiding this research was: What roles did these women, Drs. Flossie Byrd and Eula Masingale, have in contributing to Family and Consumer Sciences units and to AAFCS accreditation of Family and Consumer Sciences units in historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs)?

To establish the framework for this article, a brief overview of the history and development of AAFCS accreditation will be presented (see Table 1). …

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