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This historical investigation explores how teachers, students, and education officials viewed the social studies curriculum in the local context of Atlanta, and the broader state of Georgia, during the post-Civil Rights era, when integration was a court-ordered reality in the public schools. During the desegregation era, Atlanta schools were led by Atlanta Public Schools (APS) Superintendent, Dr. Alonzo Crim. Brought to Atlanta as part of a desegregation compromise, Dr. Crim became APS's first African American superintendent. In particular, the authors investigate how national social studies movements, such as Man: A Course of Study (MACOS), inquiry-based learning, co-curriculum activities, and standards movements, adapted to fit this Southeastern locale, at a time when schools were struggling to desegregate. Local curriculum documents written in the 1970s reveal a traditional social studies curriculum. By the 1980s, APS's social studies curriculum guides broadened to include a stronger focus on an enacted community—inside the classroom and around the world. In oral history interviews, however, former teachers, students, and school officials presented contrasting perspectives of how the social studies curriculum played out in the reality of Atlanta's public schools during the desegregation era.


This article was originally published in the journal Theory and Research in Social Education. Copyright © 2009 College and University Faculty Assembly of National Council for the Social Studies.

The post-peer-reviewed version is available here with the permission of the author.