For our February 2020 #TBT we recognize Black History Month by sharing a story of our Alumna, Mae C. Hawes, who lived at I-House while she studied Education at Columbia University from 1924-1926. Her lifelong passion for adult education was focused particularly on Black Americans and immigrants. She worked as an educator at many HBCUs and created adult literacy programs in Atlanta and Harlem. Her remarkable life is summarized this headline and feature in Ebony Magazine in 1968 (pictured).
The U Mass Archives hold all the personal correspondence of W.E.B. Dubois, and contain a rich history of letters between Dubois and Hawes starting as early as 1919. One particular letter shows Dubois requesting off-the-record commentary from Hawes on the conditions for Black students at Columbia.
Hawes was an associate of Alain Locke, W.E.B. Dubois, Arthur Schomberg, James Weldon Johnson, and Mary Mcleod Bethune. More of her accomplishments for adult education are outlined in the book, “No Small Lives: Handbook of North American Early Women Adult Educators” by Susan Imel and Gretchen Berch.
As we continue to dig into our Archives, we’re excited to discover what we can about Mae Hawes’ life at I-House among her fellow residents from across the world.