Schoolhouse Activists

African American Educators and the Long Birmingham Civil Rights Movement

By Tondra L. Loder-Jackson

Subjects: History Of Education, Education, African American Studies, American History, History
Paperback : 9781438458601, 272 pages, July 2016
Hardcover : 9781438458618, 272 pages, December 2015

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Table of contents


Introduction: Activists or Accommodationists? Recasting the Role of African American Educators in the Civil Rights Movement

PART I. Breaking Ground and Laying the Foundation

1. Pioneering Black Schools Second to None
2. Organizing for Educational Equity
3. Supporting the Movement Inside and Outside of the Schoolhouse

PART II. Transitioning and Forging Ahead

4. Relative Activism
5. Intergenerational Bridge Building
6. Resurgent Activism?

Appendix. Notes on Methodology

Examines the role of African American educators in the Birmingham civil rights movement.


Schoolhouse Activists examines the role that African American educators played in the Birmingham, Alabama, civil rights movement from the late nineteenth century to the present day. Drawing on multiple perspectives from education, history, and sociology, Tondra L. Loder-Jackson revisits longstanding debates about whether these educators were friends or foes of the civil rights movement. She also uses Black feminist thought and the life course perspective to illuminate the unique and often clandestine brand of activism that these teachers cultivated. The book will serve as a resource for current educators and their students grappling with contemporary struggles for educational justice.

Tondra L. Loder-Jackson is Associate Professor of Educational Foundations at the University of Alabama at Birmingham.


"Schoolhouse Activists provides an insightful narrative into the role of African American educators during the Civil Rights Movement in Birmingham, Alabama from the late nineteenth century to present day. This text should play a prominent role in future discussions given the limited and partial information on the roles of educators during the Civil Rights Movement. " — Journal of Negro Education

"Tondra Loder-Jackson's book is valuable for several audiences; scholars of political science, civil rights, social justice, education, and histories of education will appreciate the multigenerational perspectives she offers on the role of African American educators' activism. She contributes critical insights into the history of African American educators' activism, illuminating the powerful role teachers have played in and out of the classroom from the late nineteenth century until present times. " — Journal of African American History

"…Schoolhouse Activists is an engaging account of black educators in Birmingham that provides new history and raises important questions about the activism of black educators past and present. " — History of Education Quarterly