The Center for Race and Public Education in the South (CRPES) seeks to support research and scholarship on a variety of issues that lie at the intersection of race, education, and schooling in the southern United States. Social scientists have largely ignored the education of African Americans in the South, resulting in a lack of understanding of academic performance of students in this region. In addition, education in the South has historically been viewed as substandard due to regional stereotypes and a history of segregated education. Yet, the South was the epicenter of the civil rights movement that brought about greater democracy for all citizens, especially in the area of education. In addition, the South is considered by some scholars, as the birthplace of public education and the home of most Historically Black Colleges and Universities (HBCUs), which have produced an extraordinary number of leaders across education, business, medicine, and the sciences. Indeed, the South is a place of great complexity, paradox, and promise. CRPES also keeps in mind that the South is not a monolithic region, but it is a diverse cultural and geographical region.  

CRPES recognizes research that has implications for a range of student populations in contemporary US schools, the role of STEM education in effecting students’ academic, social, and civic outcomes, and the role of public K-16 educational institutions in the South. CRPES also explores the schooling experiences of students from transnational backgrounds.  


Our Purpose

  • Examine and contextualize the long history of the education of black Americans in the South
  • Explore racial identity development among youth in the South
  • Study the contemporary reasons for lower academic achievement among African Americans compared to whites
  • Examine the re-segregation of schools
  • Study the role of educators in the academic success of African American students and other students of color
  • Examine normative questions about the role of public, K-16 educational institutions in the South
  • Examine the educational experiences of students from immigrant and refugee backgrounds
  • Study the schooling experiences of students of color, in particular those from transnational backgrounds