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.
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.