Barry M. Goldenberg

HISTORIAN × Educator


About Me


I am currently a Postdoctoral Research Fellow at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) at Teachers College, Columbia University and Adjunct History Professor at El Camino College. I earned a Ph.D. from Columbia University in History and Education where my dissertation scholarship examined the history of Harlem Prep, an alternative high school that educated nontraditional students that had been pushed out of school from 1967-1974. I continue this work through the Harlem Prep Project which seeks to uncover the history of this remarkable institution, with the help of alumni and other supporters. I am currently in the process of revising a book manuscript based on this work, entitled Strength Through Diversity: Harlem Prep and the Rise of Radical Multiculturalism.

Besides my content-areas interests in the history of education, community schools, youth culture, and activism, my work is deeply intertwined with public history and my belief that scholars should work to bridge the gap between the academy and the communities we research. My previous Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) project explored these boundaries through my collaboration with young people and our shared pursuit of knowledge production. In my public history work, I believe firmly in the brilliance of our youth — and always center my research around the idea that we underestimate their enormous, untapped potential.

Digging deeper, however, I hope to be more than these academic confines, shaped by my varied life experiences living and learning in St. Louis, South Africa, New York City, and now (back) in Los Angeles. I am a proud first-generation scholar who is the first in my family to receive a 4-year degree, and care deeply about similarly helping my students access — and succeed in — higher education. I strive to be a critical theorist and idealist with a stream of pragmatism; a deeply engaged citizen; a dedicated educator and listener; and a committed writer. If teaching is one source of freedom, writing is the other. I am extremely fortunate and privileged to have the opportunity to write -- to write historical narratives that I hope inspire and inform, and above all, to write about what I believe can change how we think about the world around us.

Peer-Reviewed Publications

Google Scholar Profile

[Click + to read abstracts below and links to download articles]

+ Goldenberg, B. M. (2019). “Rethinking Public History and Community Practice: Learning Together With Youth Historians.” Rethinking History 23 (1), 52-77.

This essay describes a yearlong public history collaboration between graduate students, a faculty member, and local public high school students collectively producing original scholarship on a topic in the history of education. This collaboration occurred in three parts, described chronologically: a planning phase, where the group devised research questions; a research phase, where graduate students, faculty, and high school students co-conducted oral histories; and a dissemination phase, where the group created Omeka exhibits based on oral histories and other secondary research. By focusing on the methodological implications of this type of novel scholar-youth collaboration, this essay argues that there are untapped opportunities and scholarly benefits to researching topics in the history discipline (particularly the history of education) with historically trained, local high school youth. This experimental collaboration is meant to spark dialogue about how to combine the traditions of the history field with important hands-on youth/community work for the purposes of rethinking traditional historical processes. [Click here to read the article]

+ Goldenberg, B. M. (2018). “‘There’s A Lot To Know, And We’ll Learn It Together’: Emancipatory Teaching and Learning at Harlem Preparatory School, 1967-1974.” In Rearticulating Education and Social Change across American History: Teacher Agency and Resistance from the Late 19th Century to the Present. Edited by Jennifer de Saxe and Tina Gourd. New York: Routledge.

Book abstract: "This book is a collection of six case studies of teacher agency in action, centering on voices of educators who engaged in activist work throughout the history of education in the US. Through a lens of teacher agency and resistance, chapter authors explore the stories of individual educators to determine how particular historical and cultural contexts contributed to these educators’ activist efforts. By analyzing specific modes and methods of resistance found within diverse communities throughout the last century of US education, this book helps to identify and place into theoretical and historical context an underemphasized narrative of professional teacher-activists within American education." [Click here to purchase the book]

+ 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.

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. [Download article] // Access via The Social Studies

+ 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]

This two-part series details my experiences working with high school youth as part of the Youth Historians program. The first two essays are available to read below detailing my collaborative work with youth, breaking down hierarchical barriers in the history discipline through oral histories and other work. [Download article]

+ 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.

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. [partial abstract] Listen to NCTE Podcast // [Download article]

+ 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. [Ranked in Top 10% of all academic research tracked by Altmetric]

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. [full abstract] [Download article] // Access via Urban Education

General Publications

+ Generations of Giving: The History of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation. New York: Teachers College Press, 2017.

Written in partnership with the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation, located in New York City, this book explores the history of the Dodge family philanthropy from the early 1800s to the present, as well as the history of the Foundation that was established in 1917. This book, published by Teachers College Press, is a limited edition and was presented at the Dodge Foundation Centennial celebration in New York, NY, on September 16, 2017 at the University Club in Manhattan.

Click here to view the dust jacket and more information // See contents and read introduction

+ The Story of Harlem Prep: Cultivating a Community School in New York City. The Gotham Center for New York City History. Aug. 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. [Read article online]

+ 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. [Download article]

+ The Unknown Architects of Civil Rights: Thaddeus Stevens, Ulysses S. Grant, and Charles Sumner. Los Angeles: Critical Minds Press, 2011. (self-published).

Updated edition in 2017 with new author foreword now available!

BACK COVER: "Winner of the prestigious Carey McWilliams Prize for best Undergraduate Honors History Thesis at the University of California, Los Angeles (UCLA), 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

View/purchase at // Find/request at a library

Blog Articles & Essays

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: .

A Birthday Post: Dreaming of a Currency of Dreams

June 9, 2018 -- On my 30th birthday, and in between two jobs where I interact with peoples' dreams in different ways, I wrote a post about the importance of continuing to dream and helping others reach their dreams.

"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. One of my favorite posts that I often return to in moments of reflection.

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..

The Harlem Prep Project


My dissertation uncovered the unknown history of Harlem Preparatory School, an independent community school that existed in Central Harlem (NY) from 1967 to 1974 that educated students who had been pushed out of the public school system. Held in a repurposed old supermarket with blackboards as developed and staffed by diverse group of largely non-credentialed teachers, the school graduated — sent to college — over 750 students during its independent tenure.

Through the eyes of its students, staff, and administrators, I humbly seek to help tell the story of Harlem Prep, analyzing the school’s multiculturalism in the context of the other alternative Black institutions emerging during the era. This research adds to nascent scholarship of the era in terms of different strands of the black freedom struggle in education and the role that multiculturalism played. Above all, however, I hope this story can help scholars and educators re-imagine what powerful teaching and learning looks like and share the untapped brilliance of youth.

As part of the public history component of this work, I created the Harlem Prep Project: an online (and in progress) repository for Harlem Prep, collecting the stories of alumni and other historical documents. More importantly, it serves a digital "space" to connect with alumni and conduct this work in "public" together, sharing my research progress and more. The Harlem Prep Project is currently my main research endeavor, both preparing my book manuscript entitled Strength Through Diversity: Harlem Prep and the Rise of Radical Multiculturalism and also re-conceptualizing what public history looks like in a digital space.

Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH)

The Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) project is a critical approach to teaching history, focusing on empowering youth through their own cultural experiences and involving students in the practice of "doing" history through participatory action research. I founded the Youth Historians program in 2012 via a Dean's Grant for Student Research at Teachers College, Columbia University, and directed the program for four years from 2012 to 2016. While YHH sought to increase students' interest in history and academic literacies by authentically participating in critical historical dialogue, the program also pushed the boundaries of what constitutes knowledge in the Academy and the importance of collaborative research between young people and scholars.

After founding the program and directing it for four beautiful years, YHH is now under new direction and continues at Teachers College. For more information about past years of YHH including pictures and curriculum insights, visit

In addition, please visit "publication & writings" for various published scholarship relating to my past research on Youth Historians in Harlem.

Teaching Philosophy

It is the work of teachers that changed my life—and it is now a wonderful privilege to now teach myself. I have taught in a variety of capacities, and strive to be an inspiring and collaborative educator with my students.

My teaching philosophy is based on three pillars: cultural relevance, technological integration, and revolutionary love.


Cultural relevance

Informed by decades of research on culturally relevant pedagogy and multiculturalism, my courses center women, people of color, and other marginalized groups to explain the American narrative. Moreover, my classes rely on students’ lived experiences and their rich linguistic, cultural, and aspirational capital that they bring.

Technological integration

I believe that technology — mobile phones and beyond — should be utilized as learning aids and to promote learning. Technology is a part of students’ lives, and in our increasingly digital world, students should be able to use their media literacy for academic engagement. My courses include frequent use of Prezi, Canvas,, Omeka, and more.

Revolutionary love

Love is at the root of all learning, and as Ernest Morrell and Jeffrey Duncan-Andrade explain, educators must teach with a “revolutionary love” that can bring radical change in classrooms. I teach with an abundance of love for every student who walks into my classroom, and believe deeply in valuing, respecting, and affirming young peoples’ dreams.

Courses and Portfolio

El Camino College | Adjunct Professor of History


I currently teach history at El Camino College in Torrance, California as an adjunct instructor in the history department as well as part of the college’s First Year Experience (FYE) program. I have also taught dual enrollment classes at local public high schools in the Inglewood School District. My current courses include: United States History to 1877 and United States History: 1877 to the Present.

Click below to view sample syllabi from these two courses.

I also have plans to teach courses such as History of Social Movements, History of Education in the United States, and other courses related to urban history.

Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) | Founder and Project Director (2012-2016)

Working with young people in New York City, 2013.

Working with young people in New York City, 2013.

Over the course of four years, I founded and directed the Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) program at the Institute for Urban and Minority Education (IUME) at Teachers College, Columbia University. YHH served local public high school students in Harlem, and from 2012-2016, I designed curriculum and created lesson plans that sought to teach students the history of their community. Lesson plans ranged from issues on urban policy, to civil rights activism, to gentrification, and more. Teaching in this capacity provided an excellent foundation for crafting my pedagogy and codifying my teaching philosophies.

For more information about my teaching in YHH, please visit the archived Youth Historians website.


Press, Media, and Latest News

Featured as Guest on Have You Heard Podcast, Speaking about Harlem Prep | OCTOBER 17, 2019

I was honored to be a guest on the Have You Heard Podcast, a bi-weekly education focused with journalist Jennifer Berkshire and professor Jack Schneider, where I spoke about my research on Harlem Prep. We discussed what we can learn from a school like Harlem Prep today, Harlem Prep’s relation to the charter school movement today, and what powerful education looks like in practice. This derived from a graduate student contest last spring.

To listen to the podcast, click the orange play button to the left. And, for more about the contest and the podcast, click here.

Youth Historians and Doctoral Journey Featured in Teachers College News | June 21, 2019

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As I recently completed my doctoral journey, the Teachers College, Columbia University Newsroom kindly wrote about my story, focusing on the Youth Historians in Harlem (YHH) program that I founded and directed from 2012-2016. This article describes my upbringing in St. Louis, MO, and how my time at UCLA inspired my graduate work and development of the program, which continues through the college’s Harlem Education History Project. Click here to read the article.

Receives Ph.D. from Columbia University; Honored by President at Commencement | May 22, 2019


After a six-year journey pursuing my Ph.D. at Teachers College, Columbia University, my doctoral degree was officially conferred at the school’s commencement ceremony. In front of family and friends — and as a first generation student — it was very a joyous moment to have my degree conferred. Moreover, Teachers College, Columbia University President Thomas Bailey, in his prepared remarks, shared my story to the audience. Out of all the 175 students graduating, it was overwhelming and extremely humbling that he chose to discuss my journey. Click here to watch President Bailey’s remarks about my story.

Hired as an Adjunct Professor of History at El Camino College | August 1, 2018

Starting in the Fall 2018 semester, I have been hired as a part-time faculty member at El Camino College in Torrance, CA. El Camino College, which serves more than 25,000 students each year in the South Bay and larger Los Angeles County -- a majority of them first-generation college students -- is the second leading transfer school to UCLA in the state of California and one the leading institutions for serving Latino/a students. I am very proud to teach at this wonderful institution and join a group of faculty members who are extremely committed to student well-being and success. My course syllabi and other information can be viewed here.


New book on Dodge FAmily Philanthropy Released in New York | September 16, 2017


After almost two years of researching and writing, my book, entitled Generations of Giving: The History of the Cleveland H. Dodge Foundation, humbly published by Teachers College Press, was released at the Foundation's Centennial Celebration at the University Club in Manhattan, NY. In front of almost 200 people, including President Susan Fuhrman of Teachers College, Columbia University, I hand-signed each book and spoke to the audience about my writing process and the main components of the book's narrative about the Dodge family's philanthropy and the Foundation throughout the twentieth century. It was an honor to have been a part of this event.

Awarded Teachers College Research Dissertation Fellowship | May 1, 2017

In support of my dissertation work, I was awarded a year-long fellowship, starting in Fall 2017 and extending until Spring 2018. According to Teachers College's Office of Student Affairs wrote, they "received a record number of applications this year" and I am appreciative of this opportunity to represent Teachers College as one of few students who received one of these awards.

Invited as Keynote Speaker at Montclair Art museum Event | February 16, 2017

Organized by the African-American Cultural Committee at the Montclair Art Museum (MAM) in New Jersey, I was the keynote speaker and panelist at their event, entitled "Step by Step - The Story of Harlem Prep: A Conversation with Students and Faculty Fifty Years Later." At this event, organizers filmed a rarely seen documentary on Harlem Prep, and I introduced the film and how it inspired me to undertake my (now dissertation) research. Click here to watch the keynote address and panel conversation. Click here to watch the keynote. [video starts at introduction to keynote; panel discussion begins at 1:01:40]

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.

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.

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.