|Since 1878 the Mississippi Association of Educators (MAE) has been at the cutting edge with productive accomplishments for educators and public education in Mississippi.
The MAE was established through the 1976 merger of the predominantly-white Mississippi Education Association (MEA) and the predominantly black Mississippi Teachers Association (MTA). That merger resulted after the two organizations worked for more than ten (10) years to develop an acceptable plan. Over that period of time, several unsuccessful votes to merge occurred. The successful votes happened during the March 1975 conventions of the MEA and the MTA. A separate vote was held in 1976 to unify with the National Education Association.
In 1878 the Mississippi Teachers Association, later to become the Mississippi Education Association in 1885, was chartered by the State of Mississippi for the purpose of improving working and learning opportunities and conditions in Mississippi’s public schools. At that time, one-room school buildings, without any stable state funding or state-provided textbooks, were the conditions under which teachers and students labored. For more than 100 years, legislative lobbying for school structures, programs and teachers’ salaries was the hallmark of the MEA. Additionally, professional development through workshops, conferences, conventions and publications headlined the MEA agenda.
In 1906, African American educators in the State created the Mississippi Association of Teachers in Colored Schools, later to be chartered as the Mississippi Teachers Association. The organizers of MTA recognized the importance of professional development and job-related protection of existing and future African American educators, as well as, the need for better school buildings, textbooks and equipment. Although the MTA made sizeable contributions to the education lobbying efforts at the state level, much of its efforts were in legal and community-based organizing activities. Those efforts centered on voter registration and “Get Out the Vote,” in support of politicians who advocated for public education opportunities for African American educators and students.