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Center on History and Education

Teachers College, Columbia University

Past Events

I Am Not Your Negro: Film Screening and Discussion

Black Educators Matter: Black Teachers and Education Struggles in Chicago since

Black educators were on the front lines of educational and political struggles in Chicago. Increasingly during the 1960s, Black teachers engaged in dual struggles—organizing and advocating to improve the quality of education for Black students and to improve their own standing within the predominantly White teaching force and teachers union. From the 1960s to the 1980s, Black educators in Chicago grew from an insurgent group of activist teachers into a political base of the coalition that elected Harold Washington as the first Black mayor of Chicago. The growing number of Black teachers and school staff transformed Black politics as anchors of communities, caretakers of children, and as a relatively stable Black urban middle-class employed in the public sector during a period of deindustrialization and growth in the lower wage service sector. Understanding this history is even more urgent given the recent political attacks on public school teachers and public sector employees nationally, which have had a disproportionately negative impact on Black workers and Black communities.


Reading Buildings - Reading History: Integrating Literacy Skills through Histori

Many social studies and language arts teachers are familiar with close reading strategies to develop historical thinking based on the printed word. Traditional texts though can serve as a barrier for students who struggle with reading, particularly those who have language-based learning disabilities or are non-native English speakers. In this workshop, participants will learn how to develop historical thinking skills through the analysis of buildings and their histories. We drew upon literacy theory and practice to show how the process of historical building analysis supports students’ development of higher order thinking skills and meets CCSS standards.

Participants who successfully completed the workshop received 1 Continuing Education Unit (CEU). 

Screening: Los Sures, A Documentary Film about South Williamsburg, Brooklyn

We hosted a screening of Los Sures led by Director Diego Echeverria.  Produced in 1984,  the film, which documents neighborhood life in South Williamsburg, Brooklyn, is an important record of the history of New York City and the communities of students we teach.  The film is a complex and sensitive portrait of the everyday lives of Puerto Ricans and Dominicans  living on the Southside of Williamsburg in the days before gentrification.

A panel discussion followed the screening with the Director; Christopher Allen, Executive Director, Living Los Sures; and Cynthia Copeland, Educator and Public Historian.

Co-sponsors: Vice President’s Office for Diversity and Community Affairs, Institute for Urban and Minority Education, Department of Arts and Humanities, Program in History and Education, and Racial Literacy Roundtable.

Book Talk: Making the Unequal Metropolis, with Ansley Erickson

Taking Nashville as her focus, Erickson uncovers the hidden policy choices that have until now been missing from popular and legal narratives of inequality. In her account, inequality emerges not only from individual racism and white communities’ resistance to desegregation, but as the result of long-standing linkages between schooling, property markets, labor markets, and the pursuit of economic growth. By making visible the full scope of the forces invested in and reinforcing inequality, Erickson reveals the complex history of, and broad culpability for, ongoing struggles in our schools." (from the Publisher's Description)

Respondents included Carla Shedd, Assistant Professor of Sociology, Columbia University, and author of Unequal City: Race, Schools, and Perceptions of InjusticeJeanne Theoharis, Distinguished Professor of Political Science, Brooklyn College, and author of The Rebellious Life of Mrs. Rosa Parks; and Jose Vilson, Eighth Grade Math Teacher, Founder of EduColor, and author of This is Not a Test: A New Narrative on Race, Class, and Education.

This book talk was co-sponsored by the Department of Arts and HumanitiesInstitute for Urban and Minority Education, and the Center on History and Education.

Using Images to Support Contextualization: Filling in the Missing Piece of Hi

Speaker:  Christine Baron, Assistant Professor, Program in Social Studies and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University 

Date:   Wednesday, October 26, 2016

Time:  5:00-6:30pm

Location: 306 Russell Hall

One of the most persistent problems in history education is finding ways to help students contextualize historical information. Dr. Baron’s current research addresses this issue. Join us to learn how embedding historical images with reliable contextual cues into the learning process can significantly improve the ability of students to build mental models of historical eras. 

Presented in collaboration with the Program in Social Studies and Education, Department of Arts and Humanities

CLASSROOM WARS: Bilingual Education, Sex Education, & the Making of Modern Political Culture

Speaker: Natalia Mehlman Petrzela
Date: March 8, 2016

American public schools past and present are tasked with confronting issues of diversity of many kinds—linguistic, sexual, ethnic, and racial. In California, these challenges have been pronounced, especially as the politically heterogeneous Golden State grappled with the sexual revolution and its intensified “Latinization” during the 1960s and 70s, as both were becoming the hot-button national issues they remain today. How have issues of linguistic, ethnic, and sexual educational equity shaped American schools? How does the experience of the western U.S. help explain the contemporary educational landscape and our culture at large?

Co-sponsored by the Program in History and Education and the Center on History and Education.

The Promise of the Historically Black College and University: Educating Citizens, 1865-1920

Speaker: Cally L. Waite, Associate Professor, Program in History and Education, Teachers College, Columbia University
Date: December 2, 2015

Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs) have played an important role in the development of democracy and citizenship for black Americans that remains unrecognized.

The development and challenges of these institutions reflect but also cast new light on the experience of majority institutions that have long told the story of the history of higher education.



A film by Shan Nicholson

Date: November 12 and November 14, 2015

A 1970s story about the Bronx. In the peace brokered among rival gangs, the creative and political expression of hip-hop culture was born. 

General Screening 
Thursday, Nov 12, 6-8:30pm 
Teachers College, Columbia University 
Q&A with film director and Chris Emdin, Associate Professor of Science Education, Teachers College; author of Urban Science Education for the Hip-hop Generation. 

Screening for Teens 
Saturday, Nov 14, 1-3pm 
Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Junior Scholars Program 
Q&A with film director. 

Presented in collaboration with Teachers College Racial Literacy Roundtables/The Vice President's Office for Community and Diversity and the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture, Junior Scholars Program. 

RUBBLE KINGS A film by Shan Nicholson

Reading Buildings/Reading History: Integrating Literacy Skills through Historical Building Analysis

Date: October 17 and October 23, 2015

On October 17 and 23, the Center of History and Education sponsored a TC Continuing Professional Studies two-part workshop for Social Studies and Language Arts teachers titled, “Reading Buildings/Reading History: Integrating Literacy Skills through Historical Building Analysis.” 


Creating a College that Works: Audrey Cohen and the Metropolitan College of New York

Date: September 17, 2015

Part of the Teachers College Philosophy and Education Colloquium Series, the event was co-hosted by the Center on History and Education and the Program in History and Education.

Challenging American Inequality:

Historical Literacy Matters

Date: March 24, 2015

Watch the Roundtable: RE-BROADCAST - Challenging American Inequality


Why have we traditionally looked to historical knowledge as a building block of democratic participation and a central component of what it means to be an American? How can history pedagogy be framed as a challenge to social and economic inequality? How do we reach young learners to appreciate the study of history as integral to their quality of life and the well-being of American democracy?

Co-sponsored by:

Center on History and Education and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture


History Education in Practice Series

Date: February 26, 2015

Roundtable: Youth, Identity and the Power of History: Insights Gained from the Out-of-School Space

Read more 

Watch the Roundtable

Co-sponsored by:

Center on History and Education and Program in Social Studies Education, Department of Arts and Humanities


Educating Harlem Conference: Histories of Learning and Schooling in an American Community

Date: October 2, 2014

Read more

Think Tank on Historical Illiteracy

Opening Remarks by Dr. Khalil Gibran Muhammad

Date: February 19, 2014

View the Think Tank

Co-sponsored by: Center on History and Education and Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture


Teachers College: Pioneering Education

Date: March 5, 2013-March 31, 2015

Celebrating 125 Years of Innovation and Learning

New York Historical Society