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 racial and socio-political backdrop of African American education in the South, resulting in a detrimental lack of understanding of Black academic performance in this region. In addition, the South has historically been viewed as backwards and retrograde because of its brutal history of slavery and Jim Crow. Yet, the South was also the epicenter of a civil rights and social justice movement that brought about greater democracy for Blacks and hopes for many other oppressed people around the world. Indeed, the South is a place of great complexity and paradox. In studying the nexus of race and education, we must keep in mind that the South is not a monolithic region.

CRPES also recognizes that the complex history of race and public schooling has implications for a range of other student populations in contemporary US schools. Specifically, the educational experiences of students from diverse backgrounds are inextricable from the larger history of race and education in the American South. Thus, CRPES will also include in its mission the schooling experiences of other students of color, in particular those 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