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

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Recapping the 2nd Annual Edmund Gordon Lecture

In collaboration with the Program in History and Education at Teachers College as well as the Center on History and Education, IUME wass excited to highlight the "Educating Harlem" lecture series in 2014-2015, which is part of a larger initiative to better explore the forces that shaped education in Harlem. Esteemed scholar, Dr. Vanessa Siddle Walker, kicked off this year's lecture series at the 2nd Annual Edmund Gordon Lecture. Make sure to check out our Photo Gallery for pictures from this event!

The lecture concluded the Educating Harlem public conference, which was being held prior, with the goal of discussing the history of education in Harlem by bringing together leading voices in the history of education field. For more information about the Educating Harlem conference, click here.

Learn More About IUME's Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI) Project

 IUME was excited to announce the launch of the Literacy Teachers Initiative (LTI) Project in spring, 2012. Since then, we have partnered with dynamic elementary and middle school teachers from Harlem and Brooklyn in an effort to collaboratively work toward finding increased pedagogical methods for students. The LTI Project is led by Dr. Jodene Morrell of Teachers College. We have grown in number and ideas each year, received competitive research grants, presented at Teachers College and state, national, and international conferences, and written for publication.

Check out our LTI page for more information and check out the biographies of the Teacher Fellows here!

Welcome to our newest IUME Postdoctoral and Faculty Fellows!

We are excited to welcome our newest group of accomplished and innovative IUME Fellows who will be working with us this year. Our IUME Faculty Fellows include Dr. Brian Lozenski, from Metropolitan State University, and Deron Wallace, from the University of Cambridge. In addition, Teachers College's Minority Postdoctoral Fellow, Dr. Monique Lane, from the University of California-Los Angeles (UCLA), will also be be a part of IUME research this year.

Learn more about them on our Faculty Fellow page and Postdoctoral Fellow page.


A Historic Evening at the Inaugural Edmund Gordon Lecture

On October 10th, 2013, 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.

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.

Subcribe to the new IUME Newsletter!

In 2013-2104, 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.

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.

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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:

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