I AM SO HAPPY YOU ARE ALSO PISSED OFF ABOUT THE WORLDBUILDING, god it is so bad. I have chosen to believe that the MACUSA is actually Very Tiny and watches over New York alone since wow big city, and Ilvermorny is just one of many American wizarding schools, it's just the one that's most like Hogwarts. also, talk to me about Seraphina and how she clawed her way up to the top, yeah??
I HAVE CHOSEN TO BELIEVE that Ilvermony is the magical equivalent of Harvard—it gets its prestige from all the old money wasp-y wizards on the east coast who send their kids there and the fact it’s been around forever; it is by no means the only wizarding school in the US. (This makes sense in the larger context of US history because the 1920s is when you see Ivy League colleges establish admission quotas to keep out Jewish students, the prejudice would have been in the air.)
Also, I have to believe that what we saw of MACUSA was the headquarters of a branch of the actual Magical Congress and not the actual…..federal wizarding government, because that would be ridiculous. A single FBI agent can march into a secret meeting of the President of the United States??? Seraphina consults wizards obviously from other countries before she consults any sort of Congress or legislative body??? I mean, jesus, even the Ministry of Magic had more people in it.
(additionally, how the hell did wizarding US manage to skip over the whole “federal versus state power” debate that consumed the first 80 years of american history culminating in a literal war???)
…..all that said, I do love SERAPHINA PICQUERY was obviously raised in the Creole wizarding enclave in New Orleans, a proud gens de couleur libres and the youngest in a long line of Picquery witches who could trace their heritage back to Melusine on the French side, and several important priests of Mami Wata through their West African roots. (By the time she comes to New York, she’s chased most of Creole from her voice, because she can see the writing on the wall. After all, by 1930, the last French-speaking newspaper in New Orleans will fold, and the liberality enjoyed by creoles of color in Louisiana is eaten up by Jim Crow laws and the anti-black caste system of the South. But Graves still catches her humming zydeco songs sometimes, when she’s alone in her office.)
She did go to Ilvermorny, the twelfth black student to be accepted since its founding, and the second black woman. She graduated at the top of her class, with more medals for competitive dueling than she could wear without falling over, but did not give the commencement lecture. That honor went to Mary Allerton, of the Plymouth Allertons, who was blonde-haired and apple-cheeked and had a portrait of her great-something-grandfather hanging in the hall that bore their name. (Seraphina had smiled and congratulated her after, and then took the position in her father’s foundation that Mary had spent so many years boasting was reserved for her.
Mary Allerton is a dolt.)
The Allerton Foundation was not worthwhile work, nor did it utilize all of Seraphina’s talents, but it did make her valuable friends throughout the city. (She was young and looked extremely pretty in a pigeon breast bodice; a clever woman could do a great deal with that, if she was willing to put up with all the dreck that came with it.) Still, those friendships meant that when a lowly commissioner position opened up with the Magical Imports Authority, she had those willing to put her name forward.
From there, it was just a matter of climbing up and up and up—