Making a ‘Model’ System: Race, Education and Politics in the Nation’s Capital before Brown
Tikia K. Hamilton

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



The Latin School of Chicago

Primary Discipline

Making a “Model” System: Race, Education and Politics in the Nation’s Capital before Brown recovers the efforts of black Washingtonians to desegregate public schools and establish the necessary legal and social frameworks for undoing segregation in Washington and throughout the nation. The book also explores the additional routes activists pursued when legal desegregation proved insufficient to the more immediate goal of equality. Seeking the “radical redistribution” of educational resources, activists set upon a path of self-determination that redefined notions of equality and promised to increase black academic and structural opportunity.The book reveals how, despite the local and federal commitment to “separate, but equal” education in Washington, D.C. was no “model” system. However, the ways in which African-Americans sought to create a more equitable system were reflected in a number of unexamined court cases they launched, by their sustained appeals to the local school board and Congress, and through the often contentious educational campaigns that exposed strategic and ideological differences between black parents, civil rights attorneys, segregationists, educational officials and activist organizations. By foregrounding these efforts, Making a “Model” System upsets traditional frameworks that center on integration as the singular objective of educational activists and helps to provide critical alternatives for addressing present-day inequities in Washington and elsewhere.
About Tikia K. Hamilton
Tikia K. Hamilton graduated in 2015 from Princeton University with a Ph.D. in History. While at Princeton, she conducted research on the efforts of African-Americans to overcome the racial disparities that existed under the segregated school system in Washington, D.C., prior to Brown v. Board of Education. Prior to Princeton, she also attended Columbia University, where she studied as a Paul Robeson Fellow. At Columbia, she focused on black women’s organizational activism and earned a Master’s in African-American Studies. She also holds an undergraduate degree in History from Dartmouth College, where she was a Mellon Minority Undergraduate Research Fellow. She also was a recipient of the UCLA Summer Research Fellowship, under which she researched black women’s resistance strategies in the post-Emancipation period. Possessing over a decades-worth of teaching experience, Hamilton also has taught in various settings, including Princeton, Sidwell Friends in Washington, D.C., as well as Fieldston, Rye Country Day School and Poly Prep, all of which are located in New York City. She also was a visiting scholar at the George Washington University in D.C., which provided her with additional to work on her current book. During this time, she published both a book reviews and article for Washington History, entitled “The Cost of Segregation: The Contentious Career of Garnet C. Wilkinson,” a long-serving administrator for black schools in segregated Washington, a set-up he favoredOriginally from Chicago, Hamilton and her five siblings attended public school there. She recently relocated to Chicago to rejoin her extremely large family. and is now a faculty member of the Latin School of Chicago, where she teaches history. She is also the brain behind Triple Ivy Writing and Educational Solutions, where she coaches writers at various stages of their projects.

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