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ERIC Number: EJ1234114
Record Type: Journal
Publication Date: 2018-Feb
Pages: 32
Abstractor: As Provided
ISSN: ISSN-0018-2680
Negotiating the Aims of African American Adult Education: Race and Liberalism in the Harlem Experiment, 1931-1935
Nocera, Amato
History of Education Quarterly, v58 n1 p1-32 Feb 2018
This paper examines an "experimental" program in African American adult education that took place at the Harlem branch of the New York Public Library in the early 1930s. The program, called the Harlem Experiment, brought together a group of white funders (the Carnegie Corporation and the American Association for Adult Education)--who believed in the value of liberal adult education for democratic citizenship--and several prominent black reformers who led the program. I argue that the program represented a negotiation between these two groups over whether the black culture, politics, and protest that had developed in 1920s Harlem could be deradicalized and incorporated within the funder's "elite liberalism"--an approach to philanthropy that emphasized ideological neutrality, scholarly professionalism, and political gradualism. In his role as the official evaluator, African American philosopher Alain Locke insisted that it could, arguing that the program, and its occasionally Afrocentric curriculum, aligned with elite liberal ideals and demonstrated the capacity for a broader definition of (historically white) liberal citizenship. While the program was ultimately abandoned in the mid-1930s, the efforts of Locke and other black reformers helped pave the way for a future instantiation of racial incorporation: the intercultural education movement of the mid-twentieth century.
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Publication Type: Journal Articles; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: Adult Education
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers - Location: New York (New York)