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African American Education Historiography

Suggested Books

Schoolhouse Activists

Schoolhouse Activists examines the role that African American educators played in the Birmingham, Alabama, civil rights movement from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Drawing on multiple perspectives from education, history, and sociology, Tondra L. Loder-Jackson revisits longstanding debates about whether these educators were friends or foes of the civil rights movement. She also uses Black feminist thought and the life course perspective to illuminate the unique and often clandestine brand of activism that these teachers cultivated. The book will serve as a resource for current educators and their students grappling with contemporary struggles for educational justice.

telegram to horace man bond request to speak

History of the Alabama State Teachers Association

"From 1882 until its merger with the whites-only Alabama Education Association in 1969, the largely African American Alabama State Teachers Association (ASTA, or STA in some sources) served as an important organization for promoting funding for African American education and later advocating for voting rights and the desegregation of public schools. It also ensured that African American heritage and history was documented and shared to benefit all Alabamians and provide a better understanding of the state. After the merger, the organizations combined under the name Alabama Education Association." (provided by the Encyclopedia of Alabama).  Image from is telegram to Horace Man Bond to request to come to speak to the organization.

image of book cover

The Origin and Development of Secondary Education for Negroes in the Metropolitan Area of Birmingham, Alabama

The author of this study, Charles A. Brown, was invested in the promotion and normalization of access to Secondary Education as well as the professionalism and training for teachers.  He was hired by the Birmingham system in 1893 as a science teacher for Birmingham High School. He served as principals at high schools in the district and eventually promoted to associate superintendent and as president of the Alabama Education Association and the Alabama High School Association.

Black Education in Alabama, 1865-1901

Explains and describes the development of black private and public, elementary, secondary, normal, and collegiate education in Alabama from emancipation to 1901 The study of education in Alabama is especially important in understanding black education throughout the United States since the most famous black school, Booker T. Washington's Tuskegee Institute, is located in Alabama and began as a state teachers' training school. A history of black education in Alabama provides a test case of the frequently assumed dominance of Booker T. Washington and his plan of "industrial'' or vocational training in black education.  

Cover to the politics of White Rights

The Politics of White Rights

In The Politics of White Rights, Joseph Bagley recounts the history of school desegregation litigation in Alabama, focusing on the malleability and durability of white resistance. He argues that the litigious battles of 1954-73 taught Alabama's segregationists how to fashion a more subtle defense of white privilege, placing them in the vanguard of a new conservatism oriented toward the Sunbelt, not the South. Scholars have recently begun uncovering the ways in which segregationists abandoned violent backlash and overt economic reprisal and learned how to rearticulate their resistance and blind others to their racial motivations. Bagley is most interested in a creedal commitment to maintaining "law and order," which lay at the heart of this transition. Before it was a buzz phrase meant to conjure up fears of urban black violence, "law and order" represented a politics that allowed self-styled white moderates to begrudgingly accept token desegregation and to begin to stake their own claims to constitutional rights without forcing them to repudiate segregation or white supremacy.

Negro Education in Alabama

Horace Mann Bond was an early twentieth century scholar and a college administrator who focused on higher education for African Americans. His Negro Education in Alabama won Brown University's Susan Colver Rosenberger Book Prize in 1937 and was praised as a landmark by W. E. B. Dubois in American Historical Review and by scholars in journals such as Journal of Negro Education and the Journal of Southern History.   A seminal and wide-ranging work that encompasses not only education per se but a keen analysis of the African American experience of Reconstruction and the following decades, Negro Education in Alabama illuminates the social and educational conditions of its period. Observers of contemporary education can quickly perceive in Bond's account the roots of many of today's educational challenges.

My Journey

In this wise, introspective, and touching memoir, Dr. Ethel Hall recounts the little "journeys" throughout her life which prepared her to become the first African American woman elected to the Alabama State Board of Education. Her experiences with racial tension, discrimination, and poverty are interspersed with portraits of the family and love which transformed her from a farmer's daughter-determined to achieve the higher education others thought to be impossible-to a dedicated mother and educator, and even further to a statewide political leader. Dr. Hall also provides a detailed account of the problems faced-both during her more than two decades of service to the Alabama State Board of Education.

They too call Alabama home : African American profiles, 1800-1999

"Professional historian and scholar Dr. Richard Bailey offers an examination of the contributions to American life made by more than 300 individuals, all of whom have ties to Alabama. Members of this diverse group influenced education, religion, civil rights, business, sports, entertainment, music, politics and the military."