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Education in Black and White: Myles Horton and the Highlander Center’s Vision of Social Justice by Stephen Preskill

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This is one of the most important books of this decade. I remember the Tennessee billboards that proclaimed, “Martin Luther King at Communist Training School” with a picture showing King at Highlander’s 25th Anniversary celebration in 1957. Neither were Communists, of course, but those who opposed Kind and Highlander could not attack them with truths. Highlander was founded by Myles Horton and Don West in 1932, but West left within a year, and Myles Horton stayed with Highlander until his death in 1990. Myles Horton was first and foremost a listener and facilitator who brought together ordinary people working to improve their lives, so he became a fixture first of the CIO work to organize labor in the South, and then the civil rights movement, and then Appalachian social movements. This is the first book-length study of Myles Horton in twenty-five years, although several previous books are extant, including a dialogue between Horton and Paulo Freire, the author of Pedagogy of the Oppressed. This book is a biography of Horton with the emphasis on his theory and practice of education. "As a former staff member of Highlander, I had the privilege of learning from and with Myles Horton over two decades. This well-researched book captures the Highlander Center's unique approach to using popular education to deepen democracy and strengthen struggles for social justice; a story that is both instructive and inspirational for our times." --John Gaventa. "At a moment when democratic traditions are under assault, this book could hardly be more timely. The story of Myles Horton and Highlander reminds us that the late twentieth-century movements for social justice were often movements of democratic aspirations, committed to developing the untapped potential of the oppressed." -Charles M. Payne. The author, Stephen Preskill, is a writing consultant at Columbia University. Of this, his fifth book, he maintains, “writing this book was, in some ways, the dream of a lifetime.  I first learned of Myles Horton when my father, who knew of my passion for education, sent me a videocassette recording of Bill Moyers' interview with Myles called, ‘The Adventures of a Radical Hillbilly.’  I've taught about Myles for decades and learned so much from his life and commitment to social justice.  It is an honor to be the author of this book.”

Oakland, University of California Press, 2021. 369 pages with an Index, Works Cited, Notes, and photographs. Hardback in dust jacket.