On May 28, 1942, in the midst of the Second World War, Chicago Public Schools adopted a new social studies curriculum entitled Supplementary Units for the Course of Study in Social Studies. Beneath the plain language of its title lay a truly remarkable accomplishment. The adoption of the Supplementary Units marked the first time in the city's history that the contributions of African American citizens were recognized in the curriculum of its schools. Over a decade before the Brown v. Board decision initiated the modern educational movements for integration, representation, and multiculturalism, the Supplementary Units were taught in 353 Chicago schools serving both black and white student populations. The story of the development, adoption, and implementation of the Supplementary Units is one of race, politics, war, history, and education. At its center are the efforts of Madeline Morgan, a teacher and activist whose passionate fight for the inclusion of African Americans in the nation's telling of its history resulted in a curriculum that was nationally and internationally recognized. The Blackboard and the Color Line: Madeline Morgan and Black History in Chicago’s Public Schools, 1942-1945 examines the contexts that led Morgan to create the Supplementary Units; her place in African American curriculum history; and her lasting legacy for present-day educators who continue to speak for those who have traditionally been marginalized or erased from the historical record.
Dr. Michael Hines is currently a Minority Postdoctoral Fellow in History and Education at Teachers College Columbia University. He earned his B.A. in History from Washington University in St. Louis, and his M.A. and Ph.D. in Cultural and Educational Policy Studies from Loyola University Chicago. Prior to pursuing graduate studies he worked as an English/Language Arts and World History teacher in Washington D.C. and Prince George's County Maryland. Dr. Hines' research interests include history of education, curriculum studies, social studies and civics education, and the history of childhood. Currently his research focuses on how African Americans in the early twentieth created new curricular discourses around race and historical representation. His work has been published in History of Education Quarterly and The Journal of the History Childhood and Youth. His first book The Blackboard and the Color Line is forthcoming through Beacon Press.