Since slavery, Southern states prohibited the education of Black Americans. Post-emancipation, the first actions of these newly emancipated Black men and women involved the opening of informal and formal schools. The self-determination of Black Americans fueled their desire for an education. Despite major advancements in Black education, white opposition continued to hinder the education of Black children and adults through racial violence, segregation, and limited to no funding for Black schools. In response to these injustices, Black educational activists determined to acquire an equal education for their people’s children. They utilized education as a "weapon of the weak", or a tool of resistance against white opposition. For one Black American family, the Sawyer-Flowers-Wilson family, educational activists emerged across three generations of their history from Reconstruction to the late twentieth century building Black schools, detesting school boards and their support of segregation, and adapting early childhood education curricula to the needs of Black children. The biographies of grandfather Joseph J. Sawyer, granddaughter Rachel H. Flowers, and great-granddaughter Geraldine L. Wilson, each displayed their familial commitment to Black education.