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ERIC Number: EJ1004601
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2013
Pages: 21
Abstractor: As Provided
Reference Count: N/A
ISSN: ISSN-0030-9230
Intercultural Education in Detroit, 1943-1954
Halvorsen, Anne-Lise; Mirel, Jeffrey E.
Paedagogica Historica: International Journal of the History of Education, v49 n3 p361-381 2013
In the World War II era, many United States educators recognised that the claims of racial superiority underlying German anti-Semitism and Japanese imperialism challenged the fundamental democratic idea of human equality that is the bedrock of US political ideals. At the same time, these educators realised the importance of national social cohesion for political unity and strength. Their response to this challenge was to develop school programmes that emphasised the principles of equality of opportunity and inalienable human rights, that promoted respect for diverse races and cultures, that warned against the dangers of race-based totalitarianism and that taught all students to fulfil their responsibilities as US citizens. These programmes, generally referred to as "intercultural education", enjoyed their greatest success from the late 1930s to the early 1950s. In practice, most intercultural education programmes, as implemented in schools, did not live up to the ideals established by intercultural education's founders. Instead, most programmes focused on the cultural contributions of diverse groups and on values such as tolerance and appreciation for differences. Yet one large and influential public school district, the Detroit Public Schools (DPS) district, did fulfil many of the expectations for the programmes. DPS administrators and teachers pushed intercultural education in more daring directions, directly tackling deeper structural issues such as power, privilege, discrimination, equality and race to help students from different racial and cultural backgrounds respect one another and to help groups that were traditionally discriminated against achieve their full rights as citizens. Intercultural education in Detroit simultaneously taught students to value racial and cultural diversity and to cherish and follow civic values--not an easy task. Although intercultural education was a short-lived movement, ending in the 1950s in Detroit and around the country, we demonstrate that many initiatives of intercultural education formed the basis for accomplishments several decades later, during what is known as the multicultural education movement. Intercultural education also had a legacy through Norman Drachler, a leader of the intercultural programmes in the 1940s: years later, as General Superintendent of the DPS in the late 1960s, Drachler would lead the effort to dramatically change US history textbooks to be inclusive of diverse people and groups. (Contains 79 footnotes.)
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Elementary Secondary Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: Michigan