History of Education in Harlem

Skip to content Skip to main navigation
Teachers College, Columbia University
Printer-friendly Version
Teachers College, Columbia University Logo

History of Education in Harlem

At the heart of IUME is its commitment to activism through research, using research as a tool for social justice. Therefore, the Institute is proud to announce an array of research projects that IUME students and staff are either leading or heavily involved in producing, each that promote teaching and learning and/or educational issues through an anti-deficit framework. Additionally, we encourage the community to be a part of our research, further collaborating with those who our research intends to benefit.

About Educating Harlem


With the acceptance of a major grant to undertake a new history initiative that is set to begin this year and develop substantially over time, Educating Harlem has the potential to reshape and build history scholarship within education on a variety of levels.

In collaboration with the Center on History and Education, IUME and the Program in History and Education seeks to establish a scholarly community focused on investigating the history of education, broadly defined, in 20th century Harlem. All of the forces that shaped education in the 20th century U.S. ran through Harlem, often in amplified form because of the particular confluence of people, ideas, and institutions in this community. Nonetheless, Harlem remains understudied in the history of education.

By investigating the historical forms and meanings of education — in schools and beyond — in Harlem, we hope to support and provoke a rich vision of the place of education in communities and the reciprocal relationships between communities and schools. We will help explain why and how education has taken the forms that it has, by considering the roles of communities, students, teachers, policy makers, local and national leaders, and political and economic trends in shaping learning and schooling in local context.

Ultimately, we hope that the collaboration will broaden to include the Program in Social Studies Education, the Columbia University Department of History, and other interested faculty in the university community. Through this collaboration, at a time in which history and the humanities are embattled, we will model an invigorated commitment to historical investigation of education and to history pedagogy. Educating Harlem is a multi-level collaboration focused on better understanding, documenting,and communicating the history of education in Harlem. We focus on Harlem because of Teachers College’s location within Harlem, the neighborhood’s historical importance in New York City and in the history of African-American experiences, and the relative dearth of scholarly knowledge about the history of education here. Educating Harlem will not only fill this scholarly gap, but also do so in ways that model collaborative, innovative, and publicly involved historical practice.

Call for Proposals for Fall Conference
One of the main initiatives of Educating Harlem is large conference taking place in in the Fall of 2013. We encourage you submit your proposals for this conference. The CFP is below, as well as the submission system. For more information about Educating Harlem, visit the official website here.

Call for Proposals, Educating Harlem: Histories of Learning and Schooling in an American Community, Teachers College, October 10-11, 2013.