Institute for Urban and Minority Education
Teachers College, Columbia University
Teachers College
Columbia University

Skip to navigation menu

Skip to main content


A Historic Evening at the Inaugural Edmund Gordon Lecture

On October 10th, IUME, in co-sponsorship with the Program in History and Education, hosted Professor Charles M. Payne who delivered the Inaugural Edmund Gordon Address at Teachers College in honor of IUME Founder and legendary figure Dr. Edmund Gordon. The address entitled, “Whatever Happened to the Negro Question? Educational Discourse and the Lost Question of Race”, drew a standing-room-only audience of nearly 200 to Milbank Chapel and helped illustrate how historical understanding is crucial for thinking about contemporary school improvement. In his address, Dr. Payne presented a broad critique of the educational community’s modern perceptions and attitudes towards school achievement, poverty, and race.

Click here to view the lecture on the IUME YouTube channel and here for pictures.

Introducing the "Educating Harlem" Lecture Series

In collaboration with the Program in History and Education at Teachers College as well as the Center on History and Education, IUME is excited to announce its participation in the new "Educating Harlem" lecture series, which is part of a larger initiative to better explore the forces that shaped education in Harlem.

On March 27th, the first "Educating Harlem" lecture took place at Teachers College in front of a packed room in Russell Hall, where Dr. Martha Biondi -- Professor of Education at Northwestern University -- spoke about her research on youth revolutions at City College in the 1960s. Our next speaker will be Dr. Khalil Muhammad, who is currently the Director of the Schomburg Center for Research and Black Culture. For more information about the Education Harlem initiative, click here.

Subcribe to the new IUME Newsletter!

In October, IUME redesigned its monthly newsletter in a way that not only increases dissemination, but most importantly, better shares all the events and news with the world. The newsletter is available in PDF format, but also available via hard copy at the IUME office at Teachers College. Make sure to subscribe to the newsletter and e-mail list on the bottom right-hand side of this IUME homepage.

For more information and to download/view past IUME newsletters, click here.

Learn More About IUME's Literacy Teachers Initiative

Last year, IUME was excited to announce the launch of the Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI), which partners with dynamic teachers from the community in an effort to collaboratively work toward finding increased pedagogical methods for students. LTI is led by Dr. Jodene Morrell of Teachers College and in partnership with Community School District 5 of the New York City Department of Education. The nine inaugural Teacher Fellows conducted their research and will present their findings this fall, and with the addition of three new Teachers Fellows, the program has successfully expanded in its second year.

Check out our LTI page for more information and check out the biographies of the Teacher Fellows here! (In addition, click here for details of the fall presentations by the teachers.)


Learn More about the Youth Historians in Harlem Program!

The Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) project, sponsored by IUME, is a new critical approach to teaching history in urban schools in Harlem, focusing on empowering minority youth through their own cultural experiences, involving students in the practice of "doing" history through guided projects, programs, and participatory action research. YHH seeks to increase students' interest in history through innovative and engaging pedagogical approaches that help them become historians, researching the rich historical past of ‘their’ Harlem community. While YHIH seeks to advance the historical knowledge of education in Harlem, above all, our project seeks to make history relevant to urban students and help increase academic achievement. To learn more about this exciting project, visit the official website here.

Getting Real III Public Videoconference Series Recap

This past fall over the span of 16 weeks, IUME partnered with the University of Wisconsin-Madison and New York University Hip-Hop Education Center to launch an innovative online seminar series called Getting Real III. Seminal scholars and leaders in the growing field of Hip-Hop studies focused their attention on how Hip-Hop culture, culturally relevant pedagogy and youth participatory action research can successfully be used to close the education gap in America's public schools.

This online public videoconference series was highly successful. The final four lectures were at Teachers College, and can be viewed in full HERE -- so check them out! The TC speakers featured Professor Chris Emdin, Professor Ernest Morrell, Jen Johnson, and Sam Seidel with Dave "TC" Ellis. (Original lineup here.)

Recapping the Final IUME Colloquia of 2012 on "Ill Literacies"

IUME's last Colloquia at the Gordon Campus was spearheaded by two dynamic scholars--Crystal Belle and Jamila Lyiscott--who are both Research Fellows at IUME and Ph.D. students in English Education. Both Crystal and Jamila, versed in spoken word and literacy experts in the making, discussed critical issues in literacy as it applies to democracy and freedom inside schools. We had a full house at the Gordon Campus, and it was a wonderful way to reflect on 2012 with critical discussion and passionate performances from both Crystal and Jamila.

The Colloquium is viewable in full on our YouTube channel and also don't forget to view our photo gallery, too! (For original information and details, click here.)


Subscribe to our IUME YouTube Channel!

Have you visited the official IUME YouTube page recently? Want to learn more about IUME? Make sure to stop by our YouTube page here and watch a few of our videos and subscribe!. Not only do we keep a collection of IUME events and Colloquia, but our video team prepares short clips on critical research. The most recent Beyond Bullying presentation is now available, as is our December Colloquium and other great clips that should be shared!

In our increasingly digital and mutlimodal era, we believe strongly in collaborative educational content, so make sure to check back often and subscribe to your channel.




About Us > The Hotel Theresa

The Hotel Theresa

IUME is proud to conduct itself in the historic Hotel Theresa--now known as Theresa Tower--in the heart of Harlem. As the late Harvard scholar Dr. Sondra Kathryn Wilson elegantly said, "few people in Harlem know that the slim, white, thirteen-story building that stands on the historic corner of Seventh Avenue and 125th was, in its day, as famous as the Apollo Theater or the Savoy Ballroom, and more central to the history of Harlem than any other building there." Built in 1913 [pictured on left], the New York Times states that the Hotel Theresa "symbolized the new high-rise aspirations of 20th-century Harlem. Three decades later and newly integrated, it offered hope to black New Yorkers." Although operated and originally stayed at only by whites through the first three decades of its existance, since the 1940s when Harlem began to integrate, the Hotel Theresa soon became seen as "a center for African-American events," eventually becoming known as the "Waldorf of Harlem." Representative of the growing black population in Harlem, the Hotel Theresa became a landmark structure, symbolic to struggle for African Americans in New York while also acting as refuge for black American seeking an overnight stay.

During this era, a plethora of famous black actors, musicians and sports icons stayed at the Hotel--becoming the spot for a "who's who" in African American life. For example, Louis Armstrong, Sugar Ray Robinson, Lena Horne, Josephine Baker, Dorothy Dandridge, Duke Ellington, Muhammad Ali, Dinah Washington, Ray Charles, Little Richard and Jimi Hendrix all were guests at the Hotel Theresa. However, it remains vital to understand why these important black figures stayed at the Hotel--many prestigious hotels throughout New York City still denied African American guests. Therefore, the Hotel Theresa is rooted in civil rights, granting access to black guests at a time when such access to hotels of comparable quality was a rarity.

In addition, the Hotel Theresa did not just host entertainment superstars and black businessman, but infamous world icons; for example, in 1960, Cuban Prime Minister Fidel Castro stayed at the Hotel Theresa. Infamous black leader Malcom X hosted his Organization of Afro-American Unity at the hotel on many occasions. Also in 1960, Soviet Union leader Nikita Khruschev stayed at the Hotel, meeting Castro inside. 1960 continued to be a highlight for the Hotel Theresa; then-U.S. Presidential Nominee John F. Kennedy campaigned at the Hotel as did former First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt. Unfortunately, however, issues within Harlem contributed to Hotel Theresa closure in 1967.

Four years later, Hotel Theresa re-opened as a non-hotel building under the guise of Theresa Towers--the name which it still officially goes by today. Although no longer a hotel, Theresa Towers has a rich historical legacy to Harlem and to civil rights. Although it will never reach the status it did in the middle of the Twentieth century, it has remained a symbol in Harlem that is readily visible throughout the city. In recent years, Theresa Towers has been visited by former U.S. President Bill Clinton and been filmed in movies such as Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire. It currently serves as the home of the Edmund W. Gordon Campus of Teachers College, Columbia University and is the also the home of the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME). The building was declared a national landmark in 1993.

Above all, IUME's presence in this historic building is important; it is only through remembering and recognizing our past can we change the future. Therefore, not only does IUME allow Teachers College, Columbia University to have a true presence inside Harlem, but underscores the importance of the work that we intend to do by physically conducting such work in a place that is so important to the people we serve.

For more about the significance of Hotel Theresa and IUME, listen below to Director Ernest Morrell:

Return to Top