Tag: Yale Law School

Black History Month: Then and Now in Education with Charlotte Grimké and John B. King Jr.

Charlotte Forten Grimké (Image: Wikipedia.org)

article by Robin White Goode via blackenterprise.com

For Black History Month, we are honoring pioneers and their heirs apparent.

There are so many black pioneers in the arena of education, but one who stands out is Charlotte Forten Grimké, who was born into an affluent family that had fought for racial equality for generations.

THEN

Charlotte Forten Grimké   (1837-1914)

Charlotte Forten Grimké was the first northern African American schoolteacher to go south to teach former slaves.

Grimké was born in Philadelphia in 1837 into an influential and affluent family. Her grandfather had been an enormously successful businessman and significant voice in the abolitionist movement. The family moved in the same circles as William Lloyd Garrison and John Greenleaf Whittier: intellectual and political activity were part of the air Charlotte Forten Grimké  breathed.

She attended Normal School in Salem, Massachusetts, and began her teaching career in the Salem schools, the first African American ever hired. But she longed to be part of a larger cause, and with the coming of the Civil War Grimké found a way to act on her deepest beliefs. In 1862, she arrived on St. Helena Island, South Carolina, where she worked with Laura Towne.

As she began teaching, she found that many of her pupils spoke only Gullah and were unfamiliar with the routines of school. Though she yearned to feel a bond with the islanders, her temperament, upbringing and education set her apart, and she found she had more in common with the white abolitionists there. Under physical and emotional stress, Grimke, who was always frail, grew ill and left St. Helena after two years.

Today, Grimké is best remembered for her diaries. From 1854-64 and 1885-92, she recorded the life of an intelligent, cultured, romantic woman who read and wrote poetry, attended lectures, worked, and took part in the largest social movement of her time. She was determined to embody the intellectual potential of all black people. She set a course of philosophical exploration, social sophistication, cultural achievement and spiritual improvement. She was, above all, dedicated to social justice.

NOW

John B. King Jr.

John B. King Jr. (Image: Wikipedia.org)

John B. King Jr., (1975–)
John King Jr. is the first person of African American and Hispanic descent to be appointed Acting Secretary of the Department of Education. Previously he was Acting Deputy Secretary, and before that, the first African American and first Puerto Rican to be appointed Commissioner of Education of the State of New York.

Before King assumed these high-profile leadership roles, he was an award-winning teacher, receiving the James Madison Memorial Fellowship for secondary-level teaching of American history, American government, and social studies. He also co-founded a high-performing charter school in Boston, the Roxbury Preparatory Charter School.

King received a B.A. in government from Harvard, a Juris Doctor from Yale, and a Ph.D. in educational administrative practice from Columbia University Teachers College.

Although King was born into a well-educated and accomplished family (his father was the first black principal in Brooklyn, New York; he later became executive deputy superintendent of schools; his grandfather had attended New York University Law School), he experienced devastating loss and instability as a youngster, losing both his parents by the time he was 12. Seeing school and teachers as an anchor, he himself became a teacher and education leader, perhaps living out the potential that Charlotte Forten Grimké foresaw for all people of African descent more than a hundred years earlier.

Cornell William Brooks Named New NAACP President And CEO

Cornell William Brooks
Roslyn Brock, right, chairman of the national board of directors for the NAACP, puts a NAACP pin on new national president and CEO, Cornell William Brooks on Saturday, May 17, 2014, in Ft. Lauderdale, Fla. The selection of Brooks came as the United States marked the 60th anniversary of the Brown v. Board of Education decision by the U.S. Supreme Court, which outlawed segregation in public schools. The lawsuit was argued by the organization’s legal arm. (AP Photo/NAACP, J. Adams)

WASHINGTON (AP) — As a Head Start and Yale Law School graduate, Cornell William Brooks calls himself a direct beneficiary of Brown v. Board Education.  Now the lawyer and activist is taking over as the next national president and CEO of the NAACP, whose legal arm brought that landmark legal case challenging segregation in public schools.

On the 60th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision that said separating black and white children was unconstitutional, the nation’s oldest civil rights organization announced Brooks’ selection.  The NAACP’s board made the final decision Friday night, and chair Roslyn Brock told The Associated Press about Brooks’ new position on Saturday morning.  Brooks will be formally presented to the Baltimore-based organization’s members at its national convention in Las Vegas in July.

“I am a beneficiary, an heir and a grandson, if you will, of Brown versus Board of Education,” Brooks told the AP.
“My life is the direct product, if you will, of the legacy of the blood, sweat and tears of the NAACP and so today I’m particularly mindful that the NAACP has made America what it is, and certainly made my life possible and we are all grateful heirs of that legacy.”

Brooks, 53, of Annandale, New Jersey, will become the NAACP’s 18th national president, replacing interim leader Lorraine Miller. Miller has served in that position since Benjamin Jealous ended his five-year tenure last year.
“I am deeply humbled and honored to be entrusted with the opportunity to lead this powerful historic organization,” Brooks said in an interview. “In our fight to ensure voting rights, economic equality, health equity, and ending racial discrimination for all people, there is indeed much work to be done.”

Brooks, a minister, is originally from Georgetown, South Carolina. He currently is president and CEO of the New Jersey Institute for Social Justice, a Newark, New Jersey-based urban research and advocacy organization.  He graduated from Jackson State University, received a Master of Divinity from Boston University School of Theology and got his law degree from Yale.

Brooks has worked as a lawyer for the Federal Communication Commission and the Justice Department. He also ran for Congress as a Democrat in Virginia in 1998. He still owns a home in Woodbridge, Virginia.
“Mr. Brooks is a pioneering lawyer and civil rights leader who brings a wealth of knowledge and experience to the association,” Brock said. “We look forward to leveraging his legal prowess, vision and leadership as we tackle the pressing civil rights issues of the 21st century.”

The organization had hired The Hollins Group Inc., of Chicago to lead its search for a new CEO, and Brooks was selected from more than 450 applications, Brock said. The organization held more than 30 interviews, she said.
Brooks said he would start talking to and listening to the NAACP’s membership to plan for the organization’s future.
He said he would present his vision for the NAACP at the organization’s convention after he’s held conversations with the members.

“As long as America continues to be a great, but imperfect nation, there will be a need for the NAACP,” Brooks said.
Jealous called Brooks’ selection “the beginning of a new and exciting chapter for the NAACP.”

article via newsone.com

Cory Booker Wins Senate Race in New Jersey

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Mayor Cory A. Booker of Newark easily won New Jersey’s special Senate election on Wednesday, finally rising to an office that measures up to his national profile.  He will arrive in Washington already one of the country’s most prominent Democrats, and its best-known black politician other than President Obama, who backed him aggressively. Mr. Booker’s fund-raising prowess puts him on course to lead his party’s campaign efforts in the Senate, and he has been mentioned as a possible vice-presidential pick for 2016.

With 55 percent of the precincts reporting, Mr. Booker had 55 percent of the vote to 44 percent for Steve Lonegan, a Republican former mayor of Bogota, N.J., and state director of the conservative group Americans for Prosperity, according to The Associated Press. Still, the campaign gave a wider audience to certain facets of Mr. Booker that long ago began to prompt eye-rolling among his constituents.

With a Twitter following six times as large as the city he has led, Mr. Booker was known outside Newark largely for his appearances on late-night television and his heroics: rescuing a neighbor from a burning building, shoveling out snowbound cars, living on a food stamp diet.

Continue reading “Cory Booker Wins Senate Race in New Jersey”