In Honor of Black History Month After last week’s horrific mass shooting at Margery Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida, it’s tempting to romanticize the past and imagine that obtaining an education was once not as dangerous of a proposition as it is now. However, the young people who led the charge to desegregate public schools in the United States also faced peril as they tried to attend classes.
In Honor of Black History Month Twenty-three years ago, I landed my first full-time college teaching position at Tuskegee University in Alabama. Originally known as Tuskegee Institute, the school was founded by Booker T. Washington in 1881 to provide vocational education for southern blacks in the years after Reconstruction. Washington, born a slave in 1856, would overcome enormous odds to become the most influential African American in the United States
I teach a college course called United States History Since 1945. It’s a fun class because the students and I get to reflect on U.S. social, political, economic, and military history of the last seventy odd years. It’s one of those classes where I can show the hilarious episode of I Love Lucy called “Job Switching,” where Lucy and Ethel find work in a candy factory while Ricky and Fred
(for Burtis Dorning) But whosoever drinketh of the water that I shall give him shall never thirst; but the water that I shall give him shall be in him a well of water springing up into everlasting life. John 4: 14 As fearless farm boys crossed an ocean to fight and die in a war like no other before it, you, a child too young for battalions and brigades, performed
(In today’s column, I feature “A Christmas Memory,” a short story written by a fellow native Alabamian, the late Truman Capote. I first heard this story forty years ago. In December of 1977, Mr. Randal Simmons, my seventh-grade English teacher, read it to our class. Even then, I admired its simple and elegant beauty as expressed through my teacher’s soothing words. Mr. Simmons passed away some years ago, but I’ll