Hayes details pioneering legacy
Posted May 15, 2009
Sherazad Shaikh
EmCleveland Hayes, assistant professor of education, has written the chapter "’Why I Teach:’ An Analysis of one Mid-Twentieth Century Mississippian Educator’s Pedagogical Perspectives and Practices" for the forthcoming book “African American Women Educators: A Critical Examination of Their Pedagogies, Educational Ideas and Activism.” The analysis was written about Hayes’ grandmother, who was a teacher in Mississippi during the 1950s and 1960s.

Megan Sebestyen
Staff Writer

During the Civil Rights Movement, a group of women used its authority as educators to fight for equal rights.

A new book set for publication in late 2009 or early 2010 will examine the effect of African American women educators during this time.

Assistant Professor of Education Cleveland Hayes contributed a chapter to this book examining the role of his grandmother as an educator during this time.

“My grandmother is 90. The book puts her story out there for other people to read,” Hayes said. “Her story about segregation in Mississippi is very inspiring.”

The book, “African American Women Educators: A Critical Examination of Their Pedagogies, Educational Ideas and Activism,” is a compilation of 13 chapters written by educators from around the country.

Hayes began work on his chapter, “Why I Teach: An Analysis of One Mid-Twentieth Century Mississippian Edu­cator’s Pedagogical Principles and Practices,” in 2004.

Hayes said he modeled the chapter after part of his dissertation.

“My chapter is different because I’m writing about my grandmother. The other educators wrote about women they didn’t know,” Hayes said.

Karen Johnson, leader for the project, solicited the help of 13 professors from around the country to each write one chapter for the book with a focus on a specific woman’s influence on the civil rights movement.

“Last year I was contacted by Professor Abul Pitre, the special edition series editor on African American Education for the University Press of America,” Johnson said. “He was looking for book projects and thus conceived of this idea.”

Johnson said the contributors are all scholars who have made a name for themselves in this field of study.

“One of my areas of research is African-American education and African-American women educators,” Johnson said.

The book is written to serve as a major text for college and university courses that address historical and contemporary issues in education, gender educational studies and African American ethnic studies.

According to the book proposal, the book will connect the historical with the contemporary social activism of African American women educators.

The educators cited in the text used their social location as educators and activists to fight the power and oppression during the period from the 1880s to the 1960s.

“For me, my emphasis is to move away from the central idea that all African American teachers in the South had the same experience,” Hayes said. “If you read the book, you will see that they didn’t.”

The various chapters feature women from Mississippi, North Carolina, South Carolina, Detroit and Ohio, all during the late 19th century and early 20th century.

The professors who contributed to the book are based all over the United States.

“I’ve only met five of the 13 other professors,” Hayes said. “We do it all via email.”

Hayes said that he is currently working to complete another set of revisions before releasing his chapter to the publisher.

This is Hayes’ second year at the University. He earned his doctorate from the University of Utah and taught previously in Salt Lake City.

This will be his first publication.

Megan Sebestyen can be reached at megan.sebestyen@laverne.edu.

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