Laboratory of Learning

HBCU Laboratory Schools and Alabama State College Lab High in the Era of Jim Crow

by Sharon Gay Pierson (Author)
Monographs XX, 308 Pages


During the progressive education movement, laboratory high schools evolved from model schools that were part of the core teacher training curriculum at historically Black colleges and universities (HBCUs). These laboratory schools were at the vanguard of the accreditation battle, participated in national curriculum studies, and boasted high graduation and college entrance rates. Led by well-educated, reform-minded African Americans who molded their own approaches to teaching and curriculum and were grounded in sound progressive educational theory, these HBCU lab high schools represented privileged educational experiences. Yet, this collective effort of high-achieving Black lab schools has been overlooked by historians. Through an examination of Alabama State Teachers College Laboratory High School (1920–1960), Laboratory of Learning illuminates the strategies, challenges, and successes of providing secondary education to Southern Black citizens during the Jim Crow era and provides evidence that HBCU laboratory schools and Lab High should be added to our histories as an example of distinctive, progressive schooling.


XX, 308
ISBN (Softcover)
ISBN (Hardcover)
Publication date
2013 (November)
New York, Bern, Berlin, Bruxelles, Frankfurt am Main, Oxford, Wien, 2014. 308 pp., num. ill.

Biographical notes

Sharon Gay Pierson (Author)

Sharon Gay Pierson (PhD in history and education, Teachers College, Columbia University) has had her work published in numerous historical journals. She most recently contributed to the revised edition of «Schools of Tomorrow», Schools of Today: What Happened to Progressive Education (Susan F. Semel and Alan R. Sadovnik, eds., Peter Lang, forthcoming).


Title: Laboratory of Learning