“A Connected Idea of the Lesson”: Black Women’s Construction of the Pedagogical Edifice After Reconstruction (1873-1913)
Schwartz, Benjamin Bowen
This study details the construction of the intellectual infrastructure of “culturally relevant teaching” (CRT) by African-American women educators from 1873 to 1913. While CRT is understood to have roots in the pedagogies of Black teachers immediately prior to school desegregation, this study demonstrates that the writings of the first generation of Black teachers—women working from New York to Mississippi in the late 19th century—are foundational to both the practice and historiography of culturally relevant teaching. Through a close examination of a selection of the stories left by these women, we recognize that the history of African-American education as recorded by the teachers “in the field” is the history of radical pedagogy in the United States. Foregrounding the narratives of Black women teachers in the interdisciplinary study of asset-based pedagogy is essential for all educators who wish to assist their students in becoming more literate, critical, and politically engaged thinkers.