Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot is an American sociologist who examines the culture of schools, the patterns and structures of classroom life, socialization within families and communities, and the relationships between culture and learning styles. She has been a professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education since the 1970s.
She has written eight books, including I've Known Rivers, which explores the development of creativity and wisdom using the lens of "human archaeology," The Art and Science of Portraiture, which documents her pioneering approach to social science methodology, and, her most recent, The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50.
In 1984, Lawrence-Lightfoot was awarded the prestigious MacArthur prize fellowship, and in 1993, she was awarded Harvard's George Ledlie prize for research that makes the "most valuable contribution to science" and "the benefit of mankind."
In March 1998, she was the recipient of the Emily Hargroves Fisher endowed chair at Harvard University, which, upon her retirement, will become the Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot endowed chair, making her the first African-American woman in Harvard's history to have an endowed professorship named in her honor. She also has an endowed professorship named in her honor at Swarthmore College.
Lawrence-Lightfoot was featured on the 2006 PBS television documentary African American Lives. In 2008, she was elected to membership in the American Philosophical Society, the oldest learned society in the United States, dating to 1743.
Worlds Apart: Relationships Between Families and Schools (1978)
Beyond Bias: Perspectives on Classrooms (1978)
The Good High School: Portraits of Character and Courage (1983)
Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer (1988)
I've Known Rivers: Lives of Loss and Liberation (1995)
The Art and Science of Portraiture (1997)
The Essential Conversation: What Parents and Teachers Can Learn from Each Other (2003)
The Third Chapter: Passion, Risk, and Adventure in the 25 Years After 50 (2009) ISBN 978-0-374-27549-5
Exit: The Endings That Set Us Free (2012) ISBN 978-0-374-15119-5
- "Members Search: Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot." American Philosophical Society.