Barry M. Goldenberg

Author × Researcher × Educator


About Me


On the surface, I am a Doctoral Student at Teachers College, Columbia University in the History and Education program and a Research Fellow at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME). Specifically, my work looks at the intersections of youth learning -- both theories of empowerment and in improving students' academic literacies -- with public history, the historical process, historical methodology, and Youth Participatory Action Research (YPAR). My Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) project explores these boundaries, merging the idea(s) that youth can "do" rigorous historical research in ways that empowers and builds real-world skills of youth while re-thinking historical methodologies within education for scholars. By training, however, I am a historian and my historical scholarship examines the history of an alternative high school, called Harlem Preparatory School, that educated former dropout students from 1967-1975. Outside of this work, I have interned for a U.S. Senator and lived abroad in Cape Town, South Africa. I am vibrantly passionate about the power of education and the brilliance of our youth -- and always center my research around the idea that we underestimate their enormous, untapped potential.

Digging deeper, however, I am more than these academic confines -- I am a critical theorist with a stream of pragmatism; a constant independent-minded thinker; the ultimate idealist yet an admitted realist; and most of all, a committed writer. I love to write and to think about the power of writing, as it is the creation of sentences strung together to create stirring narratives that I live to create. I am extremely fortunate and privileged to have the opportunity to write -- to write about my research, about my theoretical ideas, about education, about history, and above all, about what I feel can change how we think about the world around us.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Goldenberg, B. M. (2016). "Youth Historians in Harlem: An After-School Blueprint for History Engagement through the Historical Process. The Social Studies 107 (2), 47-67.

ABSTRACT: This manuscript, written with the educator in mind, describes the Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) program, a twenty-week after-school history program that engaged urban students in history by immersing them in aspects of the historical process. Throughout the program, a group of Black male high school students were apprenticed as historical scholars, learning the various skills of a historian through a carefully sequenced, four-step curriculum. Furthermore, students self-selected a historical topic relating to their lives, personal interests, and mostly, their Harlem community in which they live and/or learn. Despite new pedagogical strategies in history education, still, rarely are students exposed to history by “doing” it in ways that model the processes undertaken by historical scholars and that promote deep engagement in the discipline itself. Despite the relatively short length of the program, students were able to create historical projects and developed a newfound interest in history through this approach. Most importantly, student participants became empowered as intellectuals and learned various skill sets that they had previously not had. Overall, this manuscript illustrates how a Youth Historians paradigm has the potential to expand educators' notions of student engagement in history while serving as a blueprint for future, more expansive programs to be developed.

Goldenberg, B. M. (2015). "Youth Historians in Harlem: Exploring the Possibilities in Collaborative History Research Between Local Youth and Scholars." Education's Histories. [serialized article]

ABOUT THIS SERIES: Education's Histories is an online open-peer review digital journal, focused on methodological issues in history and education. This three part series will detail my experience working with high school youth during the 2014-2015 academic year, and will be released sequentially. Specifically, Essay 1 introduces the project and lay out the main questions, Essay 2 explores themes in oral history, and Essay 3 will discuss the dissemination of student research. This is an "open-access" journal, meaning that everyone has access to these articles.

Goldenberg, B.M., Wintner, A., & Berg, C. (2015). "Creating Middle School Harlem Historians: Motivating Urban Students Through Community-Based History." Voices From the Middle 23 (1), 73-79.

ABSTRACT: The Middle School Harlem Historians (MSHH) was six-session after-school program in which middle school students learned to become historical researchers of their community, with the goal of motivating low-performing urban students to write in powerful and inspiring ways. Specifically, MSHH occurred in three cycles, with students picking a historical topic related to their lives in Harlem and writing an essay about their research. By fostering a culturally affirming and "scholarly" atmosphere in coordination with careful pedagogy that encouraged independent work, students became much more motivated to write and improved their writing abilities in result.

Goldenberg, B.M. (2014). "White Teachers in Urban Classrooms: Embracing Non-White Students' Cultural Capital For Better Teaching and Learning." Urban Education, 49 (1), 111-114.

ABSTRACT: The racial “mismatch” between a non-White student public school population and a primarily White teaching force continues to be underexamined through an appropriate cultural lens. This literature review provides examples of how White teachers must properly recognize non-White students’ actions and rhetoric in classroom settings as valuable cultural capital. By addressing how White teachers must reflect on their own race within the dominant school structure to close the opportunity gap, this literature review presents both a theoretical and a practical “call to action” for how White teachers in urban classrooms must critically rethink non-White students’ cultural capital in the context of teaching and learning.

*#1 "most-read" article in Urban Education for two-months in 2014-2015

General Publications

The Story of Harlem Prep: Cultivating a Community School in New York City. The Gotham Center for New York City History Blog. August 2, 2016.

This essay describes some my research on Harlem Prep, a community school that existed in Harlem from 1967 to 1974. Specifically, I examine how Harlem Prep was able to create a fascinating, if not uncommon, community between business elites and community activists that cut across racial and ideological lines. More importantly, the school was able to graduate hundreds of students who were former "drop-outs" and other non-traditional students.

Talking Inclusion? Include Our Students. TC Today Magazine, 39 (1), 64. Fall/Winter 2014.

This short article discusses, as the guest student writer for Teachers College, Columbia University's official magazine, the importance of including students in education reform decisions.

The Unknown Architects of Civil Rights: Thaddeus Stevens, Ulysses S. Grant, and Charles Sumner.

Los Angeles: Critical Minds Press. Self-Published in 2011.


Winner of the prestigious Carey McWilliams Prize for best Undergraduate Honors History Thesis at the University of California, Los Angeles, The Unknown Architects of Civil Rights is a groundbreaking book that re-examines three of the most influential—but largely forgotten—civil rights leaders in American history.

As civil rights history continues to hold a prominent place in American society, it is only through the courageous actions of Thaddeus Stevens, Ulysses S. Grant, and Charles Sumner that America’s most prized Civil Rights gains are emblazoned in our Constitution. Without these powerful and then-famous politicians, the 1960's Civil Rights Movement would not have occurred the way it did--or possibly even at all.

During the Reconstruction Era when racism and prejudice was at its height, Stevens, Grant, and Sumner valiantly fought for African American equality only years following the institution of slavery. The Unknown Architects of Civil Rights brings to life the personalities, the struggles, and the legacies of three men who strove towards America’s claim of “liberty and justice for all” during this unprecedented time in our nation’s history.


“The Unknown Architects of Civil Rights is a model of excellent research, astute analysis, and engaging discourse.... [Goldenberg] succeeds in both differentiating and connecting the efforts of these men to keep America on its uncertain course towards democracy.” --UCLA Department of History

Blog Articles

Although my opportunity to write freely--free of academic jargon and free of the confines of the Academy--is, unfortunately, too infrequent, I do occasionally have been able to blog about various life topics over a blog that I have kept, dating many years back. While an introduction of my blog can be accessed here, below are a few of my more memorable accounts that I have re-constituted: .

"Love is Real, Real is Love"

August 18, 2016 -- After spending more than a week in Los Angeles visiting with my mom and going through old school work, I was motivated to write a blog about some of thoughts about the role of love in society.

A Theory of Kindness: My Birthday Post

June 9, 2016 -- Inspired by family and friends, a short reflective post about the power and potential of kindness.

The Unwritten Words

August 14, 2014 -- A reflection, on the anniversary of my grandfather's passing, about the meaning of the "unwritten words": the words that define us as humans when few are looking and when doing the right thing is often the hardest.

Re-thinking the American Dream for the "Millennial Generation"

March 12, 2013 -- A short call to action to people of the so-called "Millennial Generation" to work together to achieve the type of society we all hope for in an era with seemingly unprecedented challenges.

Cherish the "Little" Moments

September 24, 2012 -- A older, but timeless, reflection on the moments that, at first thought, seem inconsequential but are often the moments with the most life meaning and leave the greatest impact..

Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH)

The Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) project is a new critical approach to teaching history in urban schools, focusing on empowering youth through their own cultural experiences and involving students in the practice of "doing" history through participatory action research. Through a collaboration between the History and Education Program at Teachers College, Columbia University and the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME), Youth Historians in Harlem seeks to increase students' interest in history through innovative critical pedagogy that teaches them to become historians, researching the rich historical past of ‘their’ Harlem community via the historical process. While YHH seeks to advance the historical knowledge of education in Harlem, above all, this project seeks to re-think how local high school youth can become historians and authentically participate in critical historical dialogue.

This major initiative is currently in its fourth year of existence, following three successful years where a group of talented students created their own history projects. YHH constitutes my main research project, with a strong focus on youth development through history. The project was inaugurated in 2012-2013 via initial funding through Teachers College's Dean's Grant for Student Research. For more information and updates, please visit

Press and Related News

Interviewed on Voices from the Middle Podcast | September 1, 2015

To accompany my co-written article entitled "Middle School Harlem Historians" in Voices from the Middle journal, I was interviewed in podcast format to discuss how the article took shape, how the discussed program motivates students, and other key concepts of the Middle School Harlem Historians project. Click here to listen to the podcast.

Inaugural Article Published in Urban Education Journal | January 1, 2014

After being published online in January 2013, my article "White Teachers in Urban Classrooms: Embracing Non-White Students' Cultural Capital for Better Teaching and Learning" is now available in the January 2014 edition of Urban Education vol. 49, no. 1. This article discusses how white teachers can utilize the unique cultural traits of students of color in the classroom using the Bourdieu-an lens of cultural capital.

Click here to access this article via Sage Journals.

Featured in Teachers College Magazine | July 1, 2013

In an article from Teachers College Media Center, I was featured in regards to my journey from St. Louis all the way to New York City and Columbia University. In addition, the article was featured on Teachers College's main website and in its online magazine section.

Click here to read the article in TC People Magazine.

Return to Harlem World Radio Show | February 23, 2013

I was interviewed on the Harlem World Radio Show with host Danny Tisdale, talking for 30 minutes about the Youth Historians in Harlem and the history of Harlem in general. It was a great, engaging interview that discussed the Youth Historians project from a variety angles. 

Article Featured in TC Today Magazine | December 1, 2014

In the bi-annually printed TC Today Magazine, the official magazine of the Teachers College, Columbia University, my article entitled, "Talking Inclusion? Include Our Students" discusses the importance of including students in policy decisions. Click here to read the short article.

Selected for 2014 Teagle Summer Institute | April 25, 2014

I was selected to participate in the 2014 Teagle Summer Institute at Columbia University. The Teagle Summer Institute is an "intensive, multi-day series of workshops, discussions, and posted reflections all centered on the use of emerging tools to support effective teaching," where participants will interact with graduate students across the University to design innovative teaching projects.

Awarded ING Unsung Heroes Grant | October 8, 2013

I have recently been awarded, in partnership with colleague Andrew Wintner, an ING Unsung Heroes Grant for $2,000 to conduct their "Middle School Harlem Historians" (MSHH) program. This program will be an after-school intervention program that seeks to improve middle school students' literacy skills through engaging in history. Andrew and I were generously awarded plaques and a commemorative check from ING! (Andrew is a 8th grade English teacher.) Only three projects in the entire state of New York received funding.

Click here to learn more about ING Unsung Heroes.

Health and Wellness

A strong mind requires a strong body, which is why I firmly believe in living a healthy, holistic lifestyle. The National College of Exercise Professionals (NCEP)offers classes for individuals are who interested in becoming personal trainers (or for individuals wanting to learn more about health and fitness) the well-rounded and holistic way unlike any other certification or fitness company. While most certification companies provide online exams, the NCEP believe that classes should be taught in person, as learning about fitness can only happen through visual stimulation and personal interaction. The only effective way, we believe, to learn about how the body functionally works is to practice using your own body through actual movements.

While the NCEP offers an array of advanced health and fitness courses (such as becoming a flexibility specialist or holistic health practitioner), our most popular course -- and the certification that will enable you to become a personal trainer at many local gyms or through private enterprise -- is our Standard Certification course. As an NCEP Faculty Instructor, I teach this Standard Certification course, which is an introduction to the NCEP curriculum and provides a foundation for a career in the fitness industry.

I recently co-wrote the newest edition of the NCEP Standard Certification Manual, which can be purchased on or via the NCEP website. This manual covers the five components of fitness, as well as explains how to best teach about a holistic lifestyle.


-Check back for future dates

To keep the body in good health is a duty, for otherwise we shall not be able to trim the lamp of wisdom, and keep our mind strong and clear.
— Buddha

I am available for consulting and/or research opportunities in education and history. In addition, please feel free to drop a note in regards to general questions or comments about my work. I believe strongly in collaboration and eager to foster new relationships with people and institutions in the field of education.

Name *