Prospectus Presentation – Lauren Lee Bradshaw
30 Pryor Street Southwest
Georgia State University, Atlanta, GA 30303
George Gunby Jordan and His Vision for Industrial Education in Columbus, Georgia
by Lauren Lee Bradshaw
George Gunby Jordan helped to pioneer a vocational education system that became heralded at its inception as a model for industrial education In Columbus, Georgia. As a southern industrialist, he exhibited an Interest in a practical education. Jordan, along with other city leaders, was able to create his “ideal” vocational educational program that would meet the needs of the ever-growing mill city of Columbus, GA. Because of Jordan’s political and economic position, he was able to instigate educational experiments within the city and create longstanding educational Institutions for Columbus, as can be seen in Jordan Vocational High School, which is currently celebrating its one-hundred and seventh anniversary.
No biography of Jordan has ever been written. Unlike his colleagues George Foster Peabody and Hoke Smith, whose lives have been studied in great detail, Jordan’s Influence within the city gave birth to a specific kind of
education and has yet to be explored. Within this educational biography I will examine the life of Jordan and his impact on the public school system of Columbus, Georgia. Beginning with Jordan’s early life, I will explore the evolution of Jordan from a private in the Confederate Army into a banker, mill owner, and politician in Columbus, GA. The perceived moral and social benefits that manual training and vocational education would bring to Columbus in transforming the poor white children of mill operatives into productive members of Columbus’ society became essential elements in the development of the Primary Industrial School and the Secondary Industrial High School. These institutions placed the Columbus school system into the national spotlight in the early-twentieth century.
This biography is significant as It is a source of Inquiry in the fields of critical education biography, Industrial history, progressive educational history, and vocational educational history. While acknowledging that this particular educational biography does not seek to be generalizable, I do hope that it will provide additional acumen in various fields of educational history, and that it will inspire further historical and educational studies in the future.