A plaque remaining from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem.

Above, a 1934 plaque from the Big Apple Night Club at West 135th Street and Seventh Avenue in Harlem. Discarded as trash in 2006.

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Entry from September 30, 2012
“If you educate a woman, you educate a nation”

"If you educate a woman, you educate a family/nation” is a much-cited education adage that has been credited to many people. Catherine Esther Beecher (1800-1878), an American educator, wrote in her book, A Treatise on Domestic Economy (1843):

“Let the women of a country be made virtuous and intelligent, and the men will certainly be the same. The proper education of a man decides the welfare of an individual; but educate a woman, and the interests of a whole family are secured.”

“Educate a woman and you educate a race” was said to be an “old adage” in an 1879 newspaper article. French author and anti-slavery activist Édouard René de Laboulaye (1811-1883) is best known for suggesting a statue representing liberty to presented as a gift to the United States. An 1880 book on French wit and wisdom cited him for this contribution:

“To educate a man is to form an individual who leaves nothing behind him; to educate a woman is to form future generations.”

“When you educate a boy you perhaps educate a man: when you educate a woman you educate a family” was cited in an 1882 book. Charles Duncan McIver (1860-1906), the founder and first president of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro, is often credited for saying, “When you educate a man, you educate an individual; when you educate a woman, you educate a family.”

The saying remains very popular in Africa.  James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey (1875-1927), a missionary and teacher in what is now Ghana, lectured:

“The surest way to keep people down is to educate the men and neglect the women. If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a family.”

“Nation” ("If you educate a woman, you educate a nation") has been more frequently used than “family” since the late 20th century.


Wikipedia: Catherine Beecher
Catherine Esther Beecher (September 6, 1800 – May 12, 1878) was an American educator known for her forthright opinions on female education as well as her vehement support of the many benefits of the incorporation of kindergarten into children’s education.

Biography
Parents and siblings

Beecher was born September 6, 1800, in East Hampton, New York, the daughter of outspoken religious leader Lyman Beecher and Roxanna (Foote) Beecher. She was the sister of Harriet Beecher Stowe, the 19th century abolitionist and writer most famous for her groundbreaking novel Uncle Tom’s Cabin, and of clergymen Henry Ward Beecher and Charles Beecher.

Wikipedia: Édouard René de Laboulaye
Édouard René Lefèbvre de Laboulaye (French pronunciation: [edwaːʁ ʁəne ləfɛːvʁ də labulaj]) (January 18, 1811 in Paris - May 25, 1883 in Paris) was a French jurist, poet, author and anti-slavery activist. He is remembered as the intellectual creator of the Statue of Liberty in New York Harbor, proposing the idea for a monument in 1865 paid by the citizens of France, and the lesser known Luxembourg Gardens in Paris, France.
(...)
Always a careful observer of the politics of the United States, and an admirer of its constitution, he wrote a three-volume work on the political history of the United States, and published it in Paris during the height of the politically repressed Second Empire. During the American Civil War, he was a zealous advocate of the Union cause and the abolition of slavery, publishing histories of the cultural connections of the two nations. At the war’s conclusion in 1865, he became president of the French Emancipation Committee that aided newly freed slaves in the U.S. The same year he had the idea of presenting a statue representing liberty as a gift to the United States, a symbol for ideas suppressed by Napoleon III. The sculptor Frederic-Auguste Bartholdi, one of Laboulaye’s friends, turned the idea into reality.

Wikipedia: James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey
James Emman Kwegyir Aggrey (October 18, 1875 – July 30, 1927) was an intellectual, missionary, and teacher. He was a native of the Gold Coast (modern Ghana) who later emigrated to the United States, but returned to Africa for several years.
(...)
In Ghana he delivered a lecture that persuaded Governor Guggisberg that Achimota College should be co-educational:

“The surest way to keep people down is to educate the men and neglect the women. If you educate a man you simply educate an individual, but if you educate a woman, you educate a family.”

Google Books
A Treatise on Domestic Economy, for the use of young ladies at home, and at school
By Catherine Esther Beecher
Boston, MA: Thomas H. Webb, & Co.
1843
Pg. 37:
Let the women of a country be made virtuous and intelligent, and the men will certainly be the same. The proper education of a man decides the welfare of an individual; but educate a woman, and the interests of a whole family are secured.

7 August 1879, The Daily Inter-Ocean (Chicago, IL), pg. 5, col. 3:
WELLESLEY COLLEGE.
A Letter from Mrs. Sarah K. Bolton About This Famed Institution.
(...)
The old adage, “Educate a woman and you educate a race,” is as true to-day as ever.

Google Books
A Thousand Flashes of French Wit, Wisdom, and Wickedness
Collected and translated by J. de Finod
New York, NY: D. Appleton & Co.
1880
Pg. 126:
To educate a man is to form an individual who leaves nothing behind him; to educate a woman is to form future generations.
E. Laboulaye

Google Books
John Ruskin:
Aspects of his thought and teachings

By Edmund J. Baillie
London: John Pearce
1882
Pg. 48:
Someone has said, “When you educate a boy you perhaps educate a man: when you educate a woman you educate a family;” and in the education of women we have been careless, if not absolutely neglectful.

Google Books
Empty Pews & Selections from Other Sermons on Timely Topics
By Madison Clinton Peters
Philadelphia, PA: A. T. Zeising & Co.
1886
Pg. 129:
The education of woman involves issues of the most serious and far-reaching kind; for, as some one has said: “When you educate a woman, you educate a race.”

Hathi Trust Digital Library
Ninety-Ninth Annual Report of the Regents of the University, to the Legislature of the State of New-York
Albany, NY: Weed, Parson and Company
1886
Pg. 91:
It has been well said, it ought to be always remembered that when you educate a man you educate only himself, but when you educate a woman you educate a whole family—a whole family at once.

Google Books
3 September 1892, The Woman’s Column (Boston, MA), pg. 1(?), col. 2:
“When you educate a man,” says the sage, “you educate an individual; when you educate a woman, you educate an entire family.”

Google Books
Woman in Epigram;
Flashes of Wit, Wisdom, and Satire from the World’s Literature

Compiled by Frederick William Morton
Chicago, IL: A. C. McClurg and Company
1895
Pg. 34:
To educate a man is to form an individual who leaves nothing behind him; to educate a woman is to form future generations.
EDOUARD RENE LEFEBURE LABOULAYE.

5 August 1914, Janesville (WI) Daily Gazette, pg. 5, col. 5:
MAKES STRONG PLEA
FOR WOMAN’S CAUSE
“When Woman Is Educated You Educate a Family,” Declares Col. Gearhart.
Col. Gearhart, in a striking address at the chautauqua this afternoon, made a strong appeal for the cause of women.  His plan for the education of women was summed up in an epigram:

“When a man is educated, you educate an individual. When a woman is educated, you educate a family.”

Google Books
Black and White in East Africa: The Fabric of a New Civilization;
A Study in Social Contract and Adaptation of Life in East Africa

By Richard Thurnwald
London: Routledge
1935
Pg. 219:
Dr. Aggrey’s remarks may be quoted: “When you educate a man you educate an individual, but if you educate a woman you educate a family.”

Google Books
To Know Her Own History:
Writing at the Woman’s College, 1943-1963

By Kelly Ritter
Pittsburgh, PA; University of Pittsburgh Press
2012
Pg. 54:
To reiterate the popular quote by Charles Duncan McIver, founder of the Woman’s College, “when you educate a man, you educate an individual; when you educate a woman, you educate (Pg. 55—ed.) a family.” McIver’s admonition, reprinted in the front of each year’s course bulletin at the college, reaffirmed not only the importance of women in the social fabric of the family, ergo the larger community in which women were domestic pillars of morals and grace, but also the importance of grooming women to be knowledgeable workers, even leaders, within this community postgraduation.
(Charles Duncan McIver, 1860-1906, was the founder and first president of The University of North Carolina at Greensboro—ed.)

amplify
If you educate a woman, you educate a woman
by: Moonlight Wednesday, February 15, 2012 at 3:38:00 AM EST
No disrespect to Dr. James Emmanuel Kwegyir Aggrey who said, “If you educate a man, you educate an individual. If you educate a woman, you educate a nation.” The preeminent Ghanaian scholar, educator and missionary as I highly suspect must have been well intended with his words. I disagree however with the good Doctor. Practically, when you educate a girl you educate a girl and that is how it should be seen. The role education plays in the life of women should not be seen [only] in light of how the nation benefits. Women/girls should be educated for the simple reason that they are people. 

Posted by Barry Popik
New York CityEducation/Schools • (0) Comments • Sunday, September 30, 2012 • Permalink