Lessons in Educational Emancipation from the Radical Teaching Life of Hal Adams
Edited By Bill Ayers, Caroline Heller and Janise Hurtig
Hal Adams: A Brief Biographical Sketch
Harold John Adams, known to family and friends as Hal, was born in Detroit, Michigan in 1939. Hal was the oldest of four children, an avid swimmer and base- ball player in his youth, not much interested in reading or writing as he would tell it. Hal graduated from Albion College in 1961 and became a middle school teacher and counselor. He went on to study education at the University of Michigan. In 1968 Hal earned his doctorate and took a faculty position in Counselor Education at the University of Iowa, where he taught for nearly 20 years. It was during his years in Iowa City that Hal became radicalized politically and pedagogically, engaging in activism that integrated anti-imperialist/anti-war and anti-racist work within and beyond the university. At Iowa Hal worked to develop anti-racism workshops. At the same time he joined an anti-war group, and later the Sojourner Truth Organization, oriented towards organization in the workplace. The STO distinguished itself from other New Left groups of the time in its critical approach to the role of race in the formation of the American work- ing class, and its incorporation of the dialectical praxis of such cultural Marxists as Antonio Gramsci and C. L. R. James. In 1987, Hal gave up tenure at the University of Iowa with the intention of engaging more directly in community education work, which he began in Seattle. It was there, as an outgrowth of his work teaching homeless children and their parents, that he developed...
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