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Beyond the Big House

African American Educators on Teacher Education

Gloria Ladson-Billings James A. Banks

176 pages
Teachers College Press

Gloria Ladson-Billings, acclaimed African American scholar and teacher educator, examines the field of teacher education through the accomplishments and contributions of well-known African American teacher educators— Lisa Delpit, Carl Grant, Jacqueline Jordan Irvine, Geneva Gay, Cherry McGee Banks, William Tate, and Joyce King.

Using in-depth interviews and storytelling, Ladson-Billings depicts deeply personal portraits of these scholars’ experiences to confront race and racism, not only theoretically, but within their everyday professional lives in “the Big House” of the academy. Ladson-Billings gives these portraits even greater resonance and meaning by pairing these teacher educators with historical figures—such as Harriet Tubman, Nat Turner, and Charlotte Forten—whose contributions to the struggle for social justice are a wellspring of hope and courage to all educators, and a tribute to African Americans whose political, scientific, and spiritual efforts made life better for us all.

This compelling book is important reading for all educators who want to transform teacher education for the better.


  • A re-conceptualization of the process of teacher preparation presented from a unique and long-overdue perspective.
  • Models of teacher education that support equitable and socially just practices.
  • Fascinating portraits that examine the early teaching, research and publication, mentoring and collaboration, and satisfactions and frustrations of prominent African American educators.
Author Bio

Gloria Ladson-Billings is the Kellner Family Professor of Urban Education in the Department of Curriculum and Instruction at the University of Wisconsin-Madison, and the 2005 President of the American Educational Research Association.