Education has been a major part of The HistoryMakers since its inception. The HistoryMakers has conducted institutes, held public programs, created curriculums and produced documentaries all in the name of education. Please read below to learn more about The HistoryMakers education initiatives.


Dr. Eric Arnesen | Professor of History, University of Illinois at Chicago

Arnesen, professor of history at the George Washington University, specializes in race, labor, and civil rights. He is author of Brotherhoods of Color: Black Railroad Workers and the Struggle for Equality (2001), Waterfront Workers of New Orleans: Race, Class, and Politics, 1863-1923 (1991), and Black Protest and the Great Migration: A Brief History with Documents (2002), and is editor or coeditor of four other books. A regular contributor to the Chicago Tribune, he received the James Friend Memorial Award for Literary Criticism. He is currently writing a biography of civil rights and labor leader A. Philip Randolph.


Dr. Chris Benson | Associate Professor, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Christopher Benson is an Associate Professor of African American Studies, and Journalism at the University of Illinois, at Urbana-Champaign. He earned his B.S. and M.S. degrees in journalism at the University of Illinois and his J.D. at Georgetown University. He has worked as a city hall reporter in Chicago for an area radio station, and as Features Editor and Washington Editor for Ebony magazine. He also has written for Chicago, Savoy, Jet, and Crisis magazines, and he has contributed to The Washington Post, the Chicago Tribune, the Chicago Sun-Times and Reader’s Digest. Benson is co-author with Mamie Till-Mobley of her memoir Death of Innocence: The Hate Crime That Changed America, (Random House, October 2003) the Essence bestseller about the life and death of Mrs. Mobley’s son, Emmett Till, and the history-making changes that followed. At the University of Illinois, Chris teaches African American Studies courses on hate crimes and on race and the press. In Journalism, he also teaches magazine writing, with an emphasis on literary techniques.

Mr. Leon Dash | Professor of Journalism, University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign

Leon Dash is a professor of journalism at the University of Illinois at Urbana- Champaign. A former reporter for the Washington Post, he is the author of Rosa Lee: A Mother and Her Family in Urban America, which grew out of the eight-part Washington Post series for which he won the Pulitzer Prize. He received an Emmy Award in 1996 from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for a documentary series in the public affairs category of hard issues. In 1998 Dash joined the University of Illinois as a professor of Journalism. He was later named the Swanlund Chair Professor of Journalism, Law, and Afro-American Studies in 2000. Three years later he was made a permanent faculty member in the University's Center for Advanced Study. Most recently, Professor Dash was appointed Director of the Center for Advanced Study in the 2009 Fall semester.

Dr. Bruce Laurie | Senior Lecturer, University of Warwick

Professor Laurie is editor (with Milton Cantor) of Class, Sex, and the Woman Worker (1977), and author of Working People of Philadelphia, 1800-1850 (1980) and Artisans into Workers: Labor in Nineteenth Century America (1989), which has just been re-issued by the University of Illinois Press. He has edited several important series in labor history and is on the editorial board of Labor History and Social Science History. He has held fellowships from the National Endowment for the Humanities and the Mellon Foundation, and has taught as Senior Lecturer at the Centre for the Study of Social History, University of Warwick. Professor Laurie retired in Spring, 2008, but is still teaching courses. He is the author of Beyond Garrison: Antislavery and Social Reform.

Professor Adolph Reed, Jr. | Professor of Political Science, University of Pennsylvania

Adolph Reed, Jr. is a Political Science professor at the University of Pennsylvania. His research areas of interest include American and African American politics and political thought, urban politics and American politica development. Reed previously taught at Yale, Northwestern and the New School for Social Research. He has published seven books, the most recent titled Renewing Black Intellectual History: The Ideological and Material Foundations of African American Thought


Dr. Josh Radinsky | Assistant Professor of the Learning Sciences, University of Illinois at Chicago

Professor Radinsky is an Assistant Professor of the Learning Sciences and Curriculum Studies at the University of Illinois at Chicago's College of Education. His research and teaching focus on how people learn with graphic and geographic data, including history and science inquiry with tools like geographic information systems (GIS).



Dr. Christopher Reed | Professor Emeritus of History, Roosevelt University

Dr. Reed is Professor Emeritus of History at Roosevelt University in Chicago. In his book, Black Chicago's First Century, Reed provides the first comprehensive study of the first one hundred years of African American settlement and achievements in the Windy City. Other publications include All The World is Here: The Black Presence At White City as well as The Chicago NAACP and the Rise of Black Professional Leadership 1910-1966.He is also an expert on post-Civil Rights Movement black politics.


Dr. Michael Dawson | Professor of Political Science, University of Chicago

Michael C. Dawson is the John D. MacArthur Distinguished Service Professor of Political Science and the College at the University of Chicago, as well as the founding and current Director of the Center for the Study of Race, Politics, and Culture at the university. He has also taught at the University of Michigan and Harvard University. Dawson received his BA with High Honors from Berkeley in 1982 and doctorate degree from Harvard University in 1986. Professor Dawson was co-principal investigator of the 1988 National Black Election Study and principal investigator with Ronald Brown of the 1993-1994 National Black Politics Study. His newest book, Not In Our Lifetimes: The Future of Black Politics, will be published in the fall of 2011 by the University of Chicago Press. His previous two books, Behind the Mule: Race and Class in African-American Politics (Princeton 1994) and Black Visions: The Roots of Contemporary African-American Political Ideologies (Chicago 2001), won multiple awards including Black Visions winning the prestigious Ralph Bunche Award from the American Political Science Association.

Dr. Cheryl Greenberg | Professor of History, Trinity College

Professor Greenberg has taught at Trinity for most of her career, with a few brief stints elsewhere (University of Helsinki, Columbia, Harvard) and finds a great deal of satisfaction being at a liberal arts college. Trinity offers excellent students, the resources to create interesting and rich courses, and colleagues from many other departments and programs with whom she works across disciplinary boundaries. Professor Greenberg teaches courses in African American history, the history of race in the U.S., and the interplay of race and ethnicity, as well as courses in recent US history. Professor Greenberg's research interests are equally varied, ranging from African American communities during the Great Depression to grass-roots organizing in the Civil Rights movement, and from race riots to Black-Jewish relations. Her current long-term projects include one on intermarriage and group identity and another on the invisible cultural assumptions of middle-class work places and universities.

Dr. Charles Payne | Professor of Sociology, University of Chicago

Charles M. Payne is the Frank P. Hixon Distinguished Service Professor in the School of Social Service Administration at the University of Chicago and Steering Committee member for the Consortium on Chicago School Research at the Urban Education Institute. His interests include urban education and school reform, social inequality, social change and modern African American history. His most recent books are So Much Reform, So Little Change (Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2008) which examines the persistence of failure in urban schools, and an anthology, Teach Freedom: The African American Tradition of Education For Liberation (Teachers College Press, 2008), which is concerned with Freedom School-like education. He is the author of Getting What We Ask For: The Ambiguity of Success and Failure In Urban Education (1984) and I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (1995). The latter has won awards from the Southern Regional Council, Choice Magazine, the Simon Wisenthal Center and the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America. He is co-author of Debating the Civil Rights Movement (1999) and co-editor of Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African American Activism, 1850-1950 (2003).

Payne holds a bachelor's degree in Afro-American studies from Syracuse University and a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern.

Dr. Rhonda Williams | Associate Professor of History, Case Western University

Rhonda Y. Williams is an associate professor of History in the College of Arts and Sciences and founding director of the Social Justice Institute at Case Western Reserve University. Dr. Williams also initiated and directs CWRU's Postdoctoral Fellowship in African American Studies. Dr. Williams is the author of the award-winning The Politics of Public Housing: Black Women's Struggles Against Urban Inequality (2004), the inaugural book in Oxford University Press's Transgressing Boundaries: Studies in Black Politics and Black Communities book series. Williams is also the author of several articles including "Black Women, Urban Politics, and Engendering Black Power" in The Black Power Movement:Rethinking the Civil Rights-Black Power Era, and " 'Something's Wrong Down Here': Poor Black Women and Urban Struggles for Democracy" in African American Urban History Since World War II. She is the co-editor of two volumes - Women, Transnationalism, and Human Rights, a Special Issue of the Radical History Review 101, Spring 2008, and Teaching the American Civil Rights Movement: Freedom's Bittersweet Song (New York: Routledge, 2002).