“Education as a Civil Right”: A Look Back and Forward

The 1963 March on Washington demanded an end to school segregation as part of its call for “Jobs, Justice and Freedom!” As the 50th anniversary of the March approaches, The Education Town Hall speaks with participants in a renewed call for “Education as a Civil Right” and explores some pre-March history of African American education.

Dr. Sherick Hughes, Associate Professor in the University of North Carolina-Chapel Hill School of Education, and Dr. Jesse Turner, Director of the Central Connecticut State University Literacy Center, are leaders in the Save Our Schools contingent in the August 24 “50th Anniversary March for Civil Rights: A Continuation of the Battle for Jobs, Justice and Freedom!”

Dr. Ida E. Jones is Assistant Curator of Manuscripts at the Moorland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University and author of the newly released book, Mary McLeod Bethune in Washington, D.C: Activism and Education in Logan Circle.

Join the Education Town Hall this Thursday, August 22, for a look back to mid-20th Century educational advocacy and forward to “Public Education as a Civil Right.” Listen live, 11:00 a.m. – noon, on http://www.WeActRadio.com (1480 AM in the DC area).

Join the Save Our Schools contingent Saturday morning at 8:00 a.m. at Farragut Square to make education a prominent issue in the anniversary march and beyond. Learn more about the history of educational activism from Dr. Jones’ book: purchase or borrow the paperback or e-book.

The Education Town Hall is broadcast Thursdays at 11 a.m. (Eastern) on We Act Radio.

Listen on-line at We Act Radio)

In the DC Metro Area: WPWC 1480 AM

Full recordings are archived for later discussion and sharing.

Join the (live) conversation by calling 202-889-9797.
Post comments here anytime.

Listen and DO SOMETHING!


Fifty Years and More Work to Come

As the 50th anniversary of the March approaches, de facto school segregation still abounds — for reasons relating to housing and charter school — and African American students reap fewer economic benefits from education compared with European American peers.

August 28 is the 50th Anniversary of the March on Washington. An anniversary march is planned for Saturday, August 24, and additional anniversary events are scheduled for DC and many other cities on August 28. This presents an
important opportunity to reflect on the current state of racial justice in this
country. Throughout August, We Act Radio’s Education Town Hall focuses on the call for dialogue in the context of education: How can a renewed, open dialogue on race and racism influence educational reform? How can we build such a dialogue in a helpful way?

Stay tuned to The Education Town Hall and “WeActEd” as we continue to explore the issues and advocate for needed changes.

Jesse Turner

Dr. Jesse Turner lives in Connecticut, where he is the Director of the Central Connecticut State University Literacy Center, teaching advanced clinical graduate courses for literacy specialists. As part of his department’s community engagement mission, the Literacy Center at CCSU provides over $130,000.00 worth of tutoring by certified teachers to local children, free of charge, every year. Dr. Turner works closely on a daily basis with children, parents, and teachers and is an activist and advocate for children, parents, and teachers.

He has spoken to audiences across the nation about the problems created by the No Child Left Behind Act and created the Facebook group, “Children Are More Than Test Scores,” as a way to connect individuals and communities struggling against the NCLB law.

Two years ago Jesse walked 400 miles in 40 days from Connecticut to Washington, D.C. to raise awareness of the negative impact NCLB/RTTT was having on children, parents, teachers, and schools. With a core group of people he met on his walk, and online Jesse helped build the coalition that became the Save Our Schools March, and Week of Action. His work includes advocating for children, parents and teachers, chairing conferences, writing grants, and organizing community based projects.
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Sherick Hughes

Dr. Sherick Hughes is an Associate Professor with tenure in the School of Education at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is the Graduate Program Coordinator/chair of Cultural Studies & Literacies; the Founder and Director of the Interpretive Research Suite and Bruce A. Carter Qualitative Thought Lab; the Founder and Co-Director of the Graduate Certificate in Qualitative Studies; and the Founder and Chair of BASE (Black Alumni of the School of Education).

Dr. Hughes earned his BA at UNC-Wilmington, MA at Wake Forest University and the MPA and Ph.D. at UNC-Chapel Hill. He is a former public school Teaching Assistant, G-3 Teacher of urban youth in foster care, and a member of the NC-ERC, the former education research wing of Governor Jim Hunt’s Education Cabinet. During the past decade, his research, teaching, and service efforts have focused upon: (1) Critical Race Studies & Black Education, (2) Social Context of Urban and Rural Schooling, (3) Interdisciplinary Foundations of Education, and (4) Qualitative/Mixed Research Methodology. These efforts have led to over 50 accepted academic publications and reports, while also earning him leadership roles in the national Save Our Schools and United Opt Out movements and recognition from Phi Delta Kappa, Border Crossers-New York City and the Harvard Family Involvement Network of Educators.

In addition to those honors, Dr. Hughes’ first book earned the 2007 national Critics’ Choice Book Award from the American Educational Studies Association, and most recently, he is the recipient of the 2013 national Early Career Award from Division G of the American Educational Research Association. Prior to returning home to Carolina, Dr. Hughes was a faculty member at the University of Toledo and the University of Maryland at College Park. His new book with Dr. Theodorea Berry is titled, The Evolving Significance of Race: Living, Learning and Teaching. This book was nominated for the 2013 Critics’ Choice Award. In addition, Hughes served as the special issue editor and author for the September, 2013 issue of internationally acclaimed Race, Ethnicity and Education journal. This special issue honors late Harvard and NYU Law Professor, Derrick Bell, and his specific contributions to critical race theory in educational studies.
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Ida E. Jones

Ida E. Jones is the Assistant Curator of Manuscripts at the Moorland Spingarn Research Center at Howard University. Her area of interest revolves around African American religion, women and archives. She is an adjunct faculty member in the African American Studies Department at the University of Maryland College Park. Her latest publication, Mary McLeod Bethune in Washington, D.C: Activism and Education in Logan Circle, allowed her to fuse both passions local history and Black women into a detailed examination of Mrs. Mary McLeod Bethune as a Washington resident.

About Mary McLeod Bethune in Washington, DC: Activism & Education in Logan Circle:

Mrs. Bethune’s Washington years wrought changes in international, national and local policies that contributed to dismantling segregation. As a resident, she was fully involved in the local issues, people and institutions that comprised that community. Her leadership, celebrity and residency in Logan Circle inspired black women and girls throughout Washington who admired her tenacity and accomplishments. It is my hope that examining select activities of Bethune during her Washington residency will provide insight into the struggle for justice that she and other black Washingtonians sought while shadowed under the federal government….

In conclusion, Bethune’s residency in Washington ushered in the modern civil rights movement. Every blow to the monster of segregation weakened it, allowing the events of 1963 to slay the hydra-headed beast. Her entire public life was dedicated to reconstructing the image of black womanhood. Her childhood desire to learn, her school, her organizational affiliations and the organizations she founded sought to place black womanhood into the narrative of human history as daughters of God and sisters of humanity.


More on Dr. Jones, co-author Elizabeth Clark-Lewis, and the new publication
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Categories: DC-Area Education, equity in education, National Issues, Public Education History, race and education

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