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The National PTA, Race, and Civic Engagement, 1897-1970

reviewed by Sevan G. Terzian - June 29, 2009

coverTitle: The National PTA, Race, and Civic Engagement, 1897-1970
Author(s): Christine Woyshner
Publisher: Ohio State University Press, Columbus
ISBN: 0814207553, Pages: 344 , Year: 2009
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This fascinating book tells a surprising story about a familiar civic organization in American education. Christine Woyshner convincingly demonstrates that racial consciousness and regional differences, rather than gender or socio-economic class, most powerfully informed the National PTA’s origins, rapid ascent, and eventual decline. She delineates the distinct agendas and uneasy relations between White and African-American PTAs, which eventually underwent a contested process of unification after the Supreme Court’s Brown v. Board of Education decision.  Woyshner persuasively depicts a fundamental irony in this exhaustively researched study: the very organizational structure that had fueled the PTA’s proliferation also precipitated lost opportunities for greater racial equality in and around American schools. More generally, she contends that this history illuminates the potential and limits for civic engagement in a democracy:   voluntary associations are at the heart of civil society, or the networks of groups and organizations within which people relate to one another and... (preview truncated at 150 words.)

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Cite This Article as: Teachers College Record, Date Published: June 29, 2009
https://www.tcrecord.org ID Number: 15703, Date Accessed: 4/15/2021 12:35:22 AM

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About the Author
  • Sevan Terzian
    University of Florida
    E-mail Author
    SEVAN G. TERZIAN is an associate professor, University of Florida Research Foundation professor, and Associate Director for Graduate Studies in the School of Teaching & Learning at the University of Florida. His scholarship has focused on the history of American secondary education. He is currently writing a book about the origins and development of science fairs, clubs, and talent searches for American youth from the 1920s through the 1950s.
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