Thursday, June 14, 2012
I truly appreciated my interview with Ibram Rogers which was recorded on Monday, May 27th of this year, on Memorial Day. The most memorable part of our interview was Ibram's answer to my last question, which was what he hopes Black Studies students will learn from this book? He answered I think very wisely, that students within Black Studies need to know the history of how Black Studies started in order to ensure its continued survival in this period of austerity around the country where Republican politicians, with support from Democratic politicians, plan to slash funds for public education, higher education. Since our interview, I was humbled to read an article by a public school student, Shania Morris, who wrote an article for the Philadelphia Student Union newspaper, The Union Rep. Morris wrote a powerful critique of the plan to dismantle the public schools saying that more than parents, teachers, and especially students had no say in the plan to close about sixty public schools by the end of this year. Morris writes that the Boston Consulting Group, multinational firm based in Massachusetts, created the plan along with Chief Recovery Officer Thomas Knudsen. Morris writes that the this plan is "another attempt to privatize our schools. Instead, we want investment in teachers, counselors, restorative practices, and programs and curriculum that support students in moving to college or career." Like the many students Ibram write about in his book, from James Jackson who helped organize unions as a student of Virginia Union to Gwen Patton who devised the National Association of Black Students. For me, the most important factor of Ibram's book is the exposure of the role of HBCU students in instituting Black Studies in higher education. This is done in a way that was never done before. A must read. -RF.