chapter  3
25 Pages

“There’s a Lot to Know, and We’ll Learn It Together”

Emancipatory Teaching and Learning at Harlem Preparatory School, 1967–1974
WithBarry M. Goldenberg

This chapter explores the teaching and learning that occurred at Harlem Prep. The story of Harlem in the 1960s begins with an all-too-familiar deficit description: a community in a dire educational state. It describes three main components that contributed to effective teaching: the non-hierarchical student-teacher relationships cultivated by teachers; teachers' use of culturally relevant pedagogy; and the promotion of love for each other and love for self. The "Street Academy" program had three parts: one, recruit students off the street into storefront academies; two, place students who progress into an "academy of transition" with a more structured curriculum; and three, have students then progress into a college preparatory school, like Harlem Prep. The New York Urban League, under the direction of local civil rights advocate Dr. Eugene Callender, began contemplating the idea for Harlem Prep as part of Callender's "Street Academy" program in 1967 to fill the neighbourhood void of no schools.