Cinder and Soul: The Biography of a Historically Significant African-American School in Dallas, Texas

Vicki Gefen Mokuria, Diana Wandix- White


This paper provides an approach for social studies education that includes investigative research into an old school building that has traditionally served predominantly African American children, along with a narrative inquiry into the experiences of one of that school’s former students. We offer a unique approach to experiential global citizenship education, in conjunction with an exemplar of this kind of social studies research. The first half of this paper is a “building biography” of N. W. Harllee School, followed by memories of Dr. Njoki McElroy, who attended Harllee as a young child. In the US, African American life is often misrepresented, devalued, or completely expunged from history books and historical documents. The implication of this novel approach to uncovering the truth about the education of African Americans in the 1930s is that educators around the world can use a similar approach to honor and highlight voices of marginalized people, creating rightful spaces for their stories in our collective history and memory.


African-American education, Harllee Elementary, Black Dallas history, Njoki McElroy

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