In the fall semester of 1894, Ida Mae Godfrey entered Iowa Wesleyan College (IWC), a small predominantly white coeducational institution in the southeast Iowa town of Mount Pleasant Godfrey, like dozens of whites and eight blacks before her, had graduated from Mount Pleasant High School and was soon faced with a decision concerning the next steps in her life. She could, as did many young black and white women, marry, settle, and raise a family, but her personal and professional aspirations likely convinced her that a college education was the best choice. Although enrolled at IWC, Godfrey most likely lived at home while she attended school. This allowed her parents and extended family to shield her from some of the racial prejudices and possible sexual abuses she may have experienced had she gone away to college and worked as a domestic in a white home to pay for school. In temporarily exerting control over their daughter's life, Mr. and Mrs. Godfrey helped to preserve Ida's mental and physical energies so that she might advance through school and enter one of the most respectable occupations open to black women in the late nineteenth century—teaching.