Back in graduate school, one of the unique aspects of my degree program (much like Saybrook’s cross-disciplinary approach to learning) was the ability to concentrate in other disciplines. I specifically chose historical foundations in education, with a focus in African American history of education. During my introductory courses with a leading African American historian, Dr. Eric Jackson, I was required to read a number of works by Carter G. Woodson who is chiefly known as the founder of Black History Month (originally Black History Week). Perhaps one of the most powerful of his books for me was reading “Miseducation of the Negro” an essential work that should be read by any teacher, scholar, administrator or activist agitating for social justice. It’s as relevant today as it was when first published in 1933.
Additionally, he worked as a school teacher, eventually joining the faculty of Howard University as a professor and then Dean of the College of Liberal Arts and Sciences.
As a pioneer in his field, he brought to life the vital contributions and experiences of African Americans, calling attention in his scholarship to the insidious, damaging racism that plagued (and still plagues) our country to this day.