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Aug 06 2020 - 11:35 AM
Today In History: Teachers College Hosts Race Relations Symposium

With incidents of racial injustice continuing to top headlines across the globe, we look to the history of Teachers College, Columbia University whose initiatives in the field of race relations draw inspiration. Race relations is the study of how people of different races or ethnicities relate to, live with, or behave towards each other -- sometimes as a way to help us understand the sociological and psychological nature of violence.

As African Americans faced particularly hard times -- economic conditions that led the country to the Great Depression -- an important symposium on race relations in the United States was held on August 6, 1929 in Horace Mann Auditorium of Teachers College, Columbia University. The symposium was hosted by a special committee of Teachers College, Columbia University faculty and summer session students. Among participants was the "moving spirit" Miss Mabel Carney, Professor of Rural Education, who earlier that year introduced the significant and open course of lectures entitled "Negro Education and Race Relations". Speakers at the symposium included Dr. Will Alexander, Director of the Commission on Interracial Cooperation, Atlanta, Georgia; Dr. James Weldon Johnson, Executive Secretary of the N.A.A.C.P.; and William Heard Kilpatrick, Professor of Philosophy and Education at Teachers College, Columbia University, and leader in the progressive education movement.

The following articles are drawn from Proquest Historical Newspapers, which informs and inspires classroom teaching and learning:


  • See materials relating to Mabel Carney, Head of the Department of Rural Education at Teachers College Columbia University (1918-1941) and mentor to generations of black students who came here.


  • Check out pertinent articles in Teachers College Record, our official journal, with regard to race relations, including institutional news and offerings.


Need to keep current, look to the past, teach a topic? The Everett Cafe features daily postings of news from around the world, and also promotes awareness of historical events from an educational context. Be sure to check additional Cafe News postings on the library blog.