Education and Class in Harlem: A Historic Overview of The Modern School | Teachers College Columbia University

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“Educating Harlem” to Hold Historic Gathering of The Modern School Alumni

Educating Harlem, a project of the Institute of Urban Minority Education (IUME) and the Program in History and Education, at Teachers College, will host a special event on April 21 for alumni of The Modern School, a renowned private school that pioneered progressive education in Harlem.

“Education and Class in Harlem:  A Historic Overview of The Modern School,” will include a public panel discussion in Room 150 Horace Mann from 9:15 a.m. to 11:45 a.m. One of the few secular, independent schools in New York City serving black children, The Modern School operated in Harlem’s Sugar Hill district from 1934 to 1999.

The panel, “Private Education and Black Harlem: A Retrospective Discussion (1934-1999),” will include moderator Victoria Horsford and discussants:

  • Melanie Edwards, daughter of the Modern School’s founder, Mildred Johnson Edwards and granddaughter of J. Rosamond Johnson, composer of “Lift Ev'ry Voice And Sing”
  • Deidre Bennett Flowers, Ph.D., The Modern School alumna and Teachers College doctoral candidate in History and Education
  • Robert North, D.D.S., alumnus, The Modern School
  • Daniel Perlstein, Ph.D., educational historian and associate professor, University of California at Berkeley
  • Bruce Addington Williams, Jr., M.S., M.A., OTR/L, Modern School alumnus

At a private afternoon gathering, The Modern School alumni will have the opportunity to record oral histories for the Educating Harlem Digital Collection, a project of the Institute for Urban Minority Education (IUME Alumni are encouraged to bring and donate archival material to be digitized and added to the Educating Harlem Digital Collection at Teachers College).

Teachers College students will display Educating Harlem’s collection of published and unpublished archival documents, oral histories and interpretive exhibits. Its first group of digitized material emphasizes the experiences and work of students in Harlem schools in the 1960s and 1970s.

Led by Co-Director Ansley Erickson, Ph.D., Educating Harlem is dedicated to digitizing sources and materials related to Harlem’s educational history. It is cosponsored by IUME, the Teachers College Program in History and Education, the Columbia Center for Digital Research and Scholarship, and the Teachers College Center on History and Education.

The Modern School event is cosponsored by Educating Harlem, the Harlem Semester project at Barnard College, and While We Are Still Here, a nonprofit organization dedicated to preserving the history of 409 and 555 Edgecombe Avenue in the Sugar Hill section of Harlem.

Published Monday, Apr 17, 2017