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Schooling the New South

Pedagogy, Self, and Society in North Carolina, 1880-1920

By James L. Leloudis

358 pp., 6 x 9, 34 illus., notes, bibl., index

  • Paperback ISBN: 978-0-8078-4808-1
    Published: February 1999
  • eBook ISBN: 978-0-8078-6283-4
    Published: November 2000

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Awards & distinctions

1996 Mayflower Cup for Nonfiction, Society of Mayflower Descendants in the State of North Carolina

Schooling the New South deftly combines social and political history, gender studies, and African American history into a story of educational reform. James Leloudis recreates North Carolina's classrooms as they existed at the turn of the century and explores the wide-ranging social and psychological implications of the transition from old-fashioned common schools to modern graded schools. He argues that this critical change in methods of instruction both reflected and guided the transformation of the American South. According to Leloudis, architects of the New South embraced the public school as an institution capable of remodeling their world according to the principles of free labor and market exchange. By altering habits of learning, they hoped to instill in students a vision of life that valued individual ambition and enterprise above the familiar relations of family, church, and community. Their efforts eventually created both a social and a pedagogical revolution, says Leloudis. Public schools became what they are today--the primary institution responsible for the socialization of children and therefore the principal battleground for society's conflicts over race, class, and gender. Southern History/Education/North Carolina

About the Author

James L. Leloudis, coauthor of Like a Family: The Making of a Southern Cotton Mill World, is professor of history at the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill and director of the Center for the Study of the American South.

For more information about James L. Leloudis, visit the Author Page.


"What makes Schooling the New South such an important work is its account of how schools developed into centers of social transformation. . . . This valuable piece of scholarship proves that reform is a never-ending cycle. If not built upon, one generation's reform can be another generation's problem."--The Historian

"A fascinating history of the intellectual development, ambitions, and efforts of a group of educational reformers."--Australasian Journal of American Studies

"Schooling the New South may be the best work yet in revealing the complexities of the transformation between 1880 and 1920 from one-room common schools to the modern graded school system."--Southern Cultures

"Enlightening, thought-provoking, and a pleasure to read."--Journal of Appalachian Studies

"An exemplary piece of scholarship. With graceful prose and deft analysis James Leloudis has succeeded in moving educational history (long considered a stepchild of the discipline) from the periphery to the center of studies of social change."--Journal of Southern History

"Leloudis's work is particularly effective in showing how the middle class used education as a means to establish a new social arrangement in North Carolina."--Educational Studies