Cora Wilson Stewart
American Educator and Reformer
1875 – 1958 A.D.
Cora Wilson Stewart, an American educator and reformer, known as “The Moonlight-School Lady”. In 1911 she started a campaign against adult illiteracy by establishing classes taught by volunteer teachers, in the schoolhouses of her native county of Rowan Kentucky. The schools were open only on moonlight nights, because in the dark of the moon the mountain roads were impassable.
This great movement, inspired by Mrs. Stewart, has spread over a large part of the United States, and now thousands of persons, between 30 and 80 years of age, who could not read or write, have gladly availed themselves of this educational opportunity.
In 1924 Mrs. Stewart was the recipient of the Pictorial Review’s $5,000 Annual Achievement Award. She was unanimously selected as the prize-winner by 20 judges, who declared the “Moonlight Schools” to be the greatest contribution to American civilization by any woman for that year. This struggle against illiteracy that darkens the world, is, as Mrs. Stewart says: “a war without the loss of human blood, without the click of a gun or the firing of a cannon – a war fought with the book and the pen, weapons mightier than the sword.”
Reference: Famous Women; An Outline of Feminine Achievement Through the Ages With Life Stories of Five Hundred Noted Women By Joseph Adelman. Copyright, 1926 by Ellis M. Lonow Company.