Every day this month, the Center for Black Educator Development, in partnership with Phillys7thWard.org and the Education Post, will highlight a Black Educator Hall of Famer. But, don’t forget, e’ry month is Black History Month…February is just the Blackest.
Today, our featured Black Educator Hall of Fame Member is Edmund Wyatt Gordon.
Edmund W. Gordon, was born on June 13, 1921 in Goldsboro, North Carolina. At 101 years young, he is the John M. Musser Professor of Psychology, Emeritus at Yale University, Richard March Hoe Professor, Emeritus of Psychology and Education and Founding Director of the Institute of Urban and Minority Education (IUME) at Teachers College, Columbia University.
He breezed through elementary and high school on the strength of his father’s reputation, a physician, but fell behind when he got to Howard University and was suspended for a time. However, it was there that Alain Locke, who took Dr. Gordon under his wing when he returned from his suspension; “He set me on the course of serious scholarship,” Dr. Gordon said.
Dr. Gordon received his bachelor’s degrees in zoology and social ethics from Howard University; his masters in social psychology at American University; and a doctorate in child development and guidance from Teachers College, Columbia University.
He spent his early career as a clinical psychologist and minister before earning his doctorate, after which he held professorial and departmental chair positions in the Psychology, Education, and/or Afro-American Studies departments of Yeshiva University, Teachers College/Columbia University, and Yale University.
Since the late 1990’s, he has led a special team at the College Board in quantifying the racial achievement gap in test scores, grade point average, class ranking and the like; challenging the orthodox view that discussing deficiencies in Black families and communities perpetuates painful stereotypes about racial inferiority.
Although he once believed that education could overcome the effects of multigenerational poverty, he has changed his view, and it has impacted his view/outlook on his work – even at his age:
“I’m not going to be around for that much longer, and I want to do something where I have some chance of success… I doubt we can do anything in that time frame at the lower socioeconomic level. But we do understand what to do to help the minority kids in Montclair or East Ramapo or Shaker Heights. And even that’s a tall order in the few years I have left.”
Edmund W. Gordon; a member of the Black Educator Hall of Fame.
For more information on Edmund W. Gordon, visit the following site.