Campus News

UGA College of Education Butchart receives national book award

Ron Butchart

Athens, Ga. – University of Georgia College of Education professor Ron Butchart’s book, which focuses on the formal education of freed slaves in the American South from the earliest days of the Civil War to the end of Reconstruction, has been named Outstanding Book of the Year by the History of Education Society.

Butchart, the 2011 Aderhold Distinguished Professor and head of the college’s department of elementary and social studies education, published Schooling the Freed People: Teaching, Learning and the Struggle for Black Freedom in September 2010. The book includes Butchart’s research on teachers who worked among America’s former slaves, the schools the freed people and their teachers created, the pedagogies the teachers employed, and the students they taught.

To gather this comprehensive research, Butchart and his team combined the archives of all the freedmen’s aid organizations as well as the archives of every southern state to compile a vast database of more than 11,600 individuals who taught in Southern black schools between 1861 and 1876. One of his most surprising conclusions was that one-third of the teachers were African Americans; black teachers taught longer than white teachers and half were Southerners; and even the Northern teachers were more diverse than previously imagined.

The book received Honorable Mention for the Prestigious Avery Craven Award given by the Organization of American Historians at its annual meeting in March 2011.

Butchart also is the author of a special issue article in Paedagogica Historica, titled “Black hope, white power: emancipation, reconstruction and the legacy of unequal schooling in the U.S. South, 1861-1880.” It was published April 2010.

His autobiography is featured in a book that was just released and titled, Leaders in the Historical Study of American Education, edited by Wayne Urban.

Butchart is a trained social historian and has been in teacher education for more than three decades. His teaching and research interests include the history of African-American education, the social history of teachers and teaching, and the history of classroom discipline. He joined the UGA faculty in 1999.

He received the award recently, during the History of Education Society annual meeting Chicago.


Note to editors: An image of Butchart is available for download at