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College of Education

Faculty and Staff

Jon N. Hale, Ph.D.

Title: Associate Professor
Department: Educational Studies
College of Education
Phone: 803-777-5427
Office: Wardlaw 254
Jon N Hale, Ph.D.


University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, Ph.D., May 2009 Educational Policy Studies (American History concentration) 

Research and Areas of Expertise

Jon Hale’s research focuses on the history of American education, specifically the history of student and teacher activism, education reform during the Civil Rights Movement, and the intersection of race and policy in the field of education.  Hale’s other research interests include the desegregation of K-12 education, the history of grassroots education reform efforts, and the origins of school choice and neoliberal education policy. Hale is also interested in public, local and oral history as a means to document the history of American education through community engagement. Hale’s research has been recognized through awards from the National Academy of Education, the Spencer Foundation, and the American Educational Research Association.

Published Books and Manuscripts in Progress

The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016) *AERA New Scholars Book Award (Division F, History)

To Write in the Light of Freedom: The Newspapers of the 1964 Freedom Schools,edited with William Sturkey(Jackson: University Press of Mississippi, 2015)

Learning to Protest: The Role of Southern High Schools and Youth Activism During the Black Freedom Struggle(prospectus under review, University of North Carolina Press, 2018)

Foundations of Dissent: A History of Teacher Activism During the Civil Rights Movement, edited volume with Derrick Alridge (prospectus under review, University of Virginia Press, 2018)

School Choice: The History and Controversy of America’s Most Successful School Reform Movement (work in progress, Alia Habib, literary agent)

Journal Articles and Book Chapters

“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)

“‘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) 

 “Civil Rights, Professional Rights, and the Right to Work: The Merger of Southern Black Teacher Associations, 1964-1978” Labor History (forthcoming, 2018)

“Lowcountry, High Demands: The Struggle for Quality Education in Charleston, South Carolina,” 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, 2018)

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

“Local History and Reconstructing a Historic Landscape: The History of Education and the Struggle for Justice in Charleston, South Carolina,” History of Education Quarterly56, no. 1 (February, 2016), 163-171.

“‘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, et. al.  (Charlotte, N.C.: Information Age Publishing, 2015)

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

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

“The Student as a Force for Social Change’: The Mississippi Freedom Schools and Student Engagement,” The Journal of African American History96, no. 3 (Fall, 2011): 325-348.

“The Freedom Schools, the Civil Rights Movement, and Refocusing the Goals of American Education,” The Journal of Social Studies Research35, no. 2 (Fall 2011): 259-276.


National Academy of Education/Spencer Foundation Postdoctoral Fellowship, 2015-2016

AERA New Scholars Book Award (Division F, History), 2017,The Freedom Schools: Student Activists in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (New York: Columbia University Press, 2016)

South Carolina Humanities Council Award, 2014 & 2017

College of Charleston, Teacher of the Year, School of Education, 2012-2013

College of Charleston, Center for Partnerships to Improve Education Award, 2012 & 2015

Spencer Dissertation Fellowship for Research Related to Education, Fellow 2008-2009

University of Illinois College of Education, William Chandler Bagley Doctoral Award, 2008-2009

Challenge the conventional. Create the exceptional. No Limits.