Charles M. Payne

Charles M. Payne, Director,

Charles M. Payne directs the Cornwall Center and is the Henry Rutgers Distinguished Professor of African American Studies. His interests include urban education and school reform, social inequality, social change and modern African American history.  His books include So Much Reform, So Little Change, (Harvard Education Publishing Group, 2008) which examines the persistence of failure in urban schools, and a co-edited anthology, Teach Freedom: The African American Tradition of Education For Liberation (Teachers College Press, 2008), which is concerned with education as a tool for liberation  from Reconstruction through Black Panther Liberation Schools.  He is also the author of Getting What We Ask For:  The Ambiguity of Success and Failure in Urban Education (Greenwood, 1984) and I've Got the Light of Freedom: The Organizing Tradition in the Mississippi Civil Rights Movement (University of California, 1995).  The latter has won awards from the Southern Regional Council, Choice Magazine, the Simon Wiesenthal Center and the Gustavus Myers Center for the Study of Human Rights in North America.  He is co-author of Debating the Civil Rights Movement (Rowan and Littlefield, 1999) and co-editor of Time Longer Than Rope: A Century of African American Activism, 1850 -1950 (NYU, 2003).

One of his current book projects is a continuation of the discussion from So Much Reform. Schooling the Ghetto: Fifty Years of “Reforming” Urban Schools is an attempt to synthesize what we should have learned about improving the schooling and life outcomes of children from disenfranchised communities.  He is also finishing a collection of essays entitled  Nobody’s Fault But Mine:  Black Children in the Age of Trump. He is also working on an exploration of how schooling for minorities in France, the United Kingdom, and Hungary compares to the United States.

Payne holds a bachelor's degree in Afro-American studies from Syracuse University – one of the first degrees in that subject granted by an American University -  and a doctorate in sociology from Northwestern.