Date of Award

Spring 5-15-2020

Degree Type


Degree Name

Doctor of Philosophy (PhD)


Middle and Secondary Education

First Advisor

Chara Bohan

Second Advisor

Joseph Feinberg

Third Advisor

Howard Baker

Fourth Advisor

Yali Zhao

Fifth Advisor

Chantee Earl


In this research, I detail the professional life of Rachel Davis DuBois, with particular attention to her creation of the Woodbury Project and her work with the Intercultural Education Movement. Employing historical and biographical research methods, DuBois’ archival materials at the University of Minnesota aided my exploration of the educational movement that DuBois was instrumental in establishing in the 1930s and that continued into the 1950s in the United States. In particular, DuBois founded the Service Bureau of Intercultural Education, where she designed several workshops to educate teachers on the curriculum and discussion methods of Intercultural Education. The goal of the movement was to promote understanding and respect between people of different races, ethnicities, and religions. However, DuBois left the bureau in the 1940s due to disagreements over its goals. DuBois’ radical views on equality put her at odds with members of the bureau who favored a “melting pot” education approach that centered on tolerance.

Upon leaving the Bureau of Intercultural Education, DuBois started a new organization called the Workshop for Cultural Democracy. DuBois used the new organization to spread her new Group Conversation Method. The Group Conversation Method used Intercultural Education methods in a wider community effort to bridge ethnic and racial divisions. DuBois taught the Group Conversation Method all around the country between the late 1940s and the 1980s. In the 1960s she led the dialogue training for Martin Luther King and the Southern Christian Leadership Conference (SCLC).

DuBois’ work had a lasting legacy. By the 1980s, Intercultural Education had evolved into Multicultural Education. Her intergroup dialogue methods are still practiced today. Insights from the Intercultural Education Movement are relevant as racial, ethnic, and religious tensions are widespread in modern American society.

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