Schools of Our Own
Chicago's Golden Age of Black Private Education
Imprint: Northwestern University Press
Winner, 2020 American Educational Studies Association Critics' Choice Award
As battles over school desegregation helped define a generation of civil rights activism in the United States, a less heralded yet equally important movement emerged in Chicago. Following World War II, an unprecedented number of African Americans looked beyond the issue of racial integration by creating their own schools. This golden age of private education gave African Americans unparalleled autonomy to avoid discriminatory public schools and to teach their children in the best ways they saw fit. In Schools of Our Own, Worth Kamili Hayes recounts how a diverse contingent of educators, nuns, and political activists embraced institution building as the most effective means to attain quality education. Schools of Our Own makes a fascinating addition to scholarly debates about education, segregation, African American history, and Chicago, still relevant in contemporary discussions about the fate of American public schooling.
“What He Needs is Education”: Black Education in Chicago to 1940
“For the Very Meaning of Our Lives”: Howalton Day School: 1946-1986
“Something Far More Ennobling”: Holy Name of Mary, 1940-2002
“We Have Done Black Things Today and We’re Going to Do Black Things Again Tomorrow”: New Concept Development Center, 1972-1998
Epilogue: "We Have to Invest in Our Own Power"
"Hayes examines three African American private schools within the context of Black education in Chicago, arguing that many African Americans, including Black educators in public schools, saw Black private schools as an opportunity to create quality education for their children as an alternative to public school integration. Recommended." —CHOICE
“Schools of Our Own is an important contribution that extends our understanding of the development of education in Chicago and the agency and self-determination of black Chicagoans. It reinforces our understanding of the longstanding efforts of African Americans to use schools for social mobility and personal advancement, and how this cultural value and expectation was transplanted from the American South to urban centers like Chicago when southern blacks migrated north.” —Christopher Span, author of From Cotton Field to Schoolhouse
“Schools of Our Own is an important historical contribution exploring the diversity of black private schools. It serves as a missing piece of the historical puzzle, perfectly nestled between what we already know about black education in Chicago.” —Dionne Danns, author of Desegregating Chicago’s Public Schools
“Building on transformative African American educational history scholarship and centering the work, values, and brilliance of Black women educators, Schools of Our Own expands what we know about the multiplicity of Black efforts to secure and enact educational opportunities in the mid 20th century that respected and embraced Black children.” —Michelle Purdy, author of Transforming the Elite: Black Students and the Desegregation of Private Schools
"Hayes . . . enters a vast historiography, building on the scholarship of Wesley Hogan’s Many Minds, One Heart: SNCC’s Dream for a New America and other scholars of the black freedom struggle; Peter Irons and researchers of Black education; and scholars of urban history, including Arnold Hirsch." —L. A. Cowles, Nicholls State University, CHOICE