Race, Remembering, and Jim Crow’s Teachers

By Hilton Kelly

© 2010 – Routledge

154 pages

Purchasing Options:
Paperback: 9780415638043
pub: 2012-05-30
US Dollars$43.95
Hardback: 9780415804783
pub: 2010-01-06
US Dollars$135.00

About the Book

This book explores a profoundly negative narrative about legally segregated schools in the United States being "inherently inferior" compared to their white counterparts. However, there are overwhelmingly positive counter-memories of these schools as "good and valued" among former students, teachers, and community members. Using interview data with 44 former teachers in three North Carolina counties, college and university archival materials, and secondary historical sources, the author argues that "Jim Crow’s teachers" remember from hidden transcripts—latent reports of the social world created and lived in all-black schools and communities—which reveal hidden social relations and practices that were constructed away from powerful white educational authorities. The author concludes that the national memory of "inherently inferior" all-black schools does not tell the whole story about legally segregated education; the collective remembering of Jim Crow’s teachers reveal a critique of power and a fight for respectability that shaped teachers’ work in the Age of Segregation.


Winner of the 2011 Critics Choice Book Award of the American Educational Studies Association

"Kelly…make[s] a convincing argument for the relevance of oral history as a research method that provides evidence beyond the written record and for placing black Jim Crow era teachers at the forefront of the civil rights movement."-Sarah Travis, University of North Texas, USA

Table of Contents


Part One: Teachers and Teaching

Chapter One: "Dying with One’s Boots On": Collective Remembering of Legally Segregated Schools for Blacks and Its Teachers

Chapter Two: You Must Remember This: Reconstructions of the Geopolitics of

Race and Racism in the Jim Crow South

Chapter Three: Voices of Collective Remembering: Black Teachers in Edgecombe,

Nash and Wilson Counties

Part Two: Hidden Transcripts Revealed

Chapter Four: "The Way We Found Them to Be": Black Teachers and the Politics of Respectability in Jim Crow North Carolina

Chapter Five: A Strategy of Opportunity: Black Teachers and the Making of a New

Form of Capital

Part Three: Remembering Jim Crow’s Teachers

Chapter Five: "The Half Had Not Been Told": Hidden Transcripts Made Public

About the Author

Hilton Kelly is a sociologist and an Assistant Professor of Education at Davidson College. With published and forthcoming articles in Educational Studies, Urban Education, and Educational Foundations, Kelly’s scholarship addresses important questions at the intersection of the sociology of education, African-American history and culture, and the lives and work of teachers.

About the Series

Studies in African American History and Culture

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
HISTORY / General
HISTORY / United States / 20th Century
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Ethnic Studies / African American Studies
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Sociology / General