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Jon N. Hale

Associate Professor

Address: 86 Wentworth Street, #235
Office Hours: by appointment
Phone: 843.953.6345


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ph.D., May 2009
Educational Policy Studies (American History concentration)
Cumulative GPA: 3.91
Dissertation title: “A History of the Mississippi Freedom Schools, 1954-1965”
Dissertation advisors: Christopher M. Span and James D. Anderson
University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, M.A., September 2006
Educational Policy Studies (American History concentration)
Cumulative GPA: 3.95
Masters Thesis Title: “Education for Social Change: The History of the Mississippi Freedom Schools, 1932-1964”

University of Wisconsin-La Crosse, B.S., May 2004
Major: History, Secondary Education
Minor: Political Science
Cumulative GPA: 3.75
Certified Middle and Secondary Social Studies teacher (Wisconsin)

Research Interests

My research examines the history of American education during the Civil Rights Movement. It specifically examines the history of student and teacher activism and grassroots educational reform. My research has thus far examined the history of the Mississippi Freedom Schools, the intersection of grassroots civil rights organization and Head Start, southern high school student activism, and the role of the NAACP Youth Council and African American teacher associations. My service is connected broadly to civil rights education initiatives connected to Quality Education as a Constitutional Right, the Freedom Schools, the Southern Initiative of the Algebra Project, and the South Carolina Teachers Association. I currently serve as the co-director of the Quality Education Project, the executive director of the Charleston Freedom School, and the vice-chair of the Burke High School Improvement Council.

Courses Taught

  • EDFS 201/652: Foundations of Education
  • HIST 310/AAST 300/EDUC 560: History of Education
  • FYSE/AAST 300/HONS 381: A History of Charleston and the Civil Rights Movement
  • EDFS 685 (Independent Study): Critical Theory and Pedagogy
  • HIST 403 (Independent Study): A History of Student Activism
  • HIST 770 (Independent Study): A History of African American Philanthropy
  • MTLA 601: Race, Class and Gender in American Education
  • MTLA 602: Critical Issues in Contemporary Education
  • MTLA 607: Teachers as Advocates for Children and Youth

Honors and Awards

  • National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015-2016
  • South Carolina Humanities Council (Charleston Civil Rights Film Fest), Spring 2017
  • South Carolina Humanities Council (The Legacy of Brown v. Board of Education (1954) Decision), Winter 2014
  • College of Charleston, Center for Partnerships to Improve Education (CPIE), Fall 2011; Fall 2013
  • College of Charleston, National Endowment for the Humanities, Summer Grant (Nominee), Summer 2013
  • College of Charleston,ExCEL Faculty of the Year, School of Education, 2012-2013
  • College of Charleston, Faculty Development Grant, Spring 2012
  • Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for Research Related to Education, Fellow 2008-2009
  • University of Illinois College of Education, William Chandler Bagley Doctoral Award, Scholar 2008-2009


Books and Edited Volumes 

Jon N. Hale, The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016)

William Sturkey and Jon N. Hale (eds.), To Write in the Light of Freedom: The Newspapers of the 1964 Freedom Schools, (Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2015)

Jon N. Hale and Derrick Alridge (eds.) Teachers in the Movement: A History of Educator Activism During the Civil Rights Movement, (prospectus under review with the University of Virginia Press, 2017)

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

Jon N. Hale, “Future Foot Soldiers or Budding Criminals?: The Dynamics of High School Student Activism in the Southern Black Freedom Struggle,” Journal of Southern History (forthcoming, 2018)

Jon N. Hale, “'The development of power is the main business of the school': The Agency of Southern Black Teacher Associations from Jim Crow Through Desegregation," Journal of Negro Education (forthcoming, 2018)  

Jon N. Hale, “Lowcountry, High Standards: The Struggle for Quality Education in Charleston, South Carolina,” with Clerc Cooper, in Deferred Dreams, Defiant Struggles: Critical Perspectives on Blackness, Belonging and Civil Rights, edited by Violet Showers Johnson, Gundolf Graml and Patricia Williams Lessane (Liverpool, UK: Liverpool University Press, forthcoming 2017) 

Jon N. Hale, “Civil Rights, Professional Rights, and the Right to Work: The Merger of Southern Black Teacher Associations, 1964-1978” Journal of Labor History (under review, 2017)

Jon N. Hale, “It Only Takes a Spark to Get a Fire Going”: The Life and Legacy of Educator, Lois A. Simms, and the Overlooked History of Teacher Activism, 1920-2015” in Teachers in the Movement: A History of Educator Activism During the Civil Rights Movement, edited volume with Derrick Alridge (prospectus under review, 2017)

Jon N. Hale, “Local History and Reconstructing a Historic Landscape: The History of Education and the Struggle for Justice in Charleston, South Carolina,” History of Education Quarterly 56, no. 1 (February, 2016), 163-171.

Jon N. Hale, “‘We Declare Independence from the Unjust Laws of Mississippi’: The Freedom Schools, Head Start and the Reconstruction of Education during the Civil Rights Movement ” in Using Past as Prologue: Contemporary Perspectives on African American Educational History, edited by Dionne Danns, Michelle Purdy and Christopher Span (Charlotte, N.C.: Information Age Publishing, 2015)

Jon N. Hale, “’The Fight Was Instilled in Us’: High School Student Activism and the Civil Rights Movement in Charleston,” South Carolina Historical Magazine 114, no. 1 (January 2013); 4-28.

Jon N. Hale, “The Struggle Begins Early: Head Start and the Mississippi Freedom Movement,” The History of Education Quarterly 52, no. 4 (November, 2012); 506-534.

Jon N. Hale, “The Student as a Force for Social Change”: Student Engagement in the Mississippi Freedom Schools, 1964-1965,” Journal of African American History 96, no. 3 (Summer, 2011): 325-348.

Jon N. Hale, “The Freedom Schools, the Civil Rights Movement, and Refocusing the Goals of American Education,” The Journal of Social Studies Research 35, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 259-276.

Jon N. Hale, "Early Pedagogical Influences on the Mississippi Freedom Schools: Myles Horton and Critical Education in the Deep South," American Educational History Journal 34, no. 2 (2007): 315-330.    

Editorial and National Media Pieces

"CofC Professor Jon Hale Introduces the Peninsula to a Literacy-Focused Summer Program," Charleston City Paper (July 2017) 

"On Afrocentric History in American Education," Process: A Blog for American History (March 2017)

"The African American Roots of Betsy DeVos's Education Platform," The Atlantic (January 2017)

"CofC Prof Jon Hale Publishes 'Freedom Schools' about Civil Rights," The College Today (June 2016)

South Carolina Public Radio, The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (November 2016)

"5 Questions with Education Scholar Jon Hale," Post and Courier (September 2016)

New Books Netwrok Podcast: The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (July 2016)

C-Span Civil Rights Author Panel Discussion (To Write in the Light of Freedom) (August 2015)

Confederate Flag Controversy Underscores Need for Educational Activism,” Education Week (July 2015)

Where are America's memorials to pain of slavery, black resistance?,” with Robert Chase, Ph.D. CNN (July 2015) 

Historical Challenges of Race and Education,The Post and Courier (Charleston, SC, April 2015)

"A History of Burke High School in Charleston, South Carolina, Since 1894," Lowcountry Digitial History Initiative (2014) 

The Forgotten Story of the Freedom Schools,The Atlantic (June 2014) 


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