The seeds of resistance stolen by Brown v. Board of Education

This month marks the 70th anniversary of the Supreme Court’s decision in Brown v. Board of Education. The ruling in the 1954 case was one of the most consequential court decisions in American history, overturning the doctrine of separate but equal—or separate and unequal, depending on who you ask—established by Plessy v. Ferguson. The case also set the stage for Civil Rights Movement activists to dismantle the racial caste system that was Jim Crow.

Integrating schools 70 years ago was a good thing. But it had unintended consequences. | Opinion

"Brown v. Board of Education" desegregated our schools. It also made it harder for Black teachers to succeed, argues Rann Miller. Read more In April, Philadelphia hosted the annual meeting of the American Educational Research Association. While the planners of the convening may have glowing remarks about its host city, researchers took Pennsylvania to task. At the meeting, Travis Bristol of the University of California, Berkeley, and Sharif El-Mekki, CEO of the Center for Black Educator Develo

The Cost of Fighting Crime

Mayor Cherelle Parker was the first woman elected mayor in the history of Philadelphia. She vowed to voters that she will vigorously fight crime and believes she’s doing just that. She has a mandate to do so. Historically, Philadelphia has regularly contended with poverty and gun violence. While gun violence is down compared to last year, 2023 follows three of the most violent years in recent memory and the trauma remains something residents continue to navigate. According to a Pew Charitable Trust 2023 poll, Philadelphians from all backgrounds want their elected leaders to prioritize reducing the city’s crime rate in the coming years. According to the poll, those most affected are Black and Latino/a/x residents, who make up a majority of city residents.

Dapping: The overlooked Black Celebration that has a Long, Life-Saving History

The Super Bowl last week was filled with cultural moments that blew people away. Usher provided one of the more entertaining halftime shows in recent memory. Beyoncé announced on a Verizon commercial she’s releasing new music . . . and of course, the NFL couldn’t get enough shots of Taylor Swift at the big game. However, there’s one act of the culture that took place that is hardly ever noticed these days, but is nevertheless a cultural touchpoint in the mainstream: the dap. Dap is a customary salutation or greeting amongst Black people. It’s a clasping of hands that can morph into additional hand exchanges and/or a bro hug.

How Haitian immigrants and local Black resistance helped subvert slavery in 18th century Philadelphia | Opinion

When it comes to Black history and the city of Philadelphia, there is much to reflect on and celebrate. There’s the work of South Jersey-born abolitionist William Still, who was known as the father of the Underground Railroad, responsible for ushering African Americans safely through Philadelphia on their way to freedom. There’s also the work of groups such as the Agricultural and Mechanics Association of Pennsylvania and New Jersey, which purchased land and financed education for newly emancipated

Confronting the Uncomfortable: Strategies to Teach Enslavement

History can teach us a lot about where we are as a society and how we got here. Some historical topics are uncomfortable to engage in: they can be both difficult to learn as well as painful to teach. One such topic is chattel enslavement. Let me tell you: Enslavement was wrong. And it cannot, and should not, be ignored in the curriculum or in our society. The unpaid labor of African people, as well as the exploitation of resources from lands where the descendants of formerly enslaved Africans

Black QBs Have Given Philly Their All, So The City Must Do Its Own Soul Searching

Considering the history of Black quarterbacks, are they not enough of an underdog? After Fritz Pollard, the first Black quarterback in football history, came a ban on Black players by the NFL from 1933 to 1946. When the NFL reintegrated in 1946, the prevailing assumption was that Black athletes weren’t intelligent enough to play quarterback. Whites even assumed that Black players lacked the physical stamina and emotional courage to excel at contact sports like boxing and football.

On MLK day, politicians use banal quotes to cover up all the ways they don't follow King's message | Opinion

The Rev. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. addresses marchers during his "I Have a Dream" speech at the Lincoln Memorial on Aug. 28, 1963, in Washington. Read more As another MLK Day arrives, politicians across the spectrum will post pictures with quotes by Martin Luther King Jr., using them as a veil to conceal all the ways their policies don’t align with his philosophies. Instead of, like King, advocating for voting rights, economic and environmental justice, and criminal justice, today’s legislato

Philly’s Ski Mask Ban Is Just Another Tool for Cops to Target Black Youth

The policy is part of a familiar playbook where governments enact racist fashion bans in the name of “curtailing crime.” The City Council of Philadelphia passed a ban in December on ski masks as a purported crime-fighting measure. According to the ordinance, wearing ski masks will be prohibited in parks, schools, public transit and other city-owned buildings, carrying with it a fine of $250 for each offense, and up to $2,000 if a mask is worn during the commission of a crime. The council bill

Stop-and-Frisk Policing by Any Other Name Won’t Provide Safety in Philadelphia

Philadelphia voters elected their first Black woman mayor in November. But will Mayor-elect Cherelle Parker actually improve the lives of Philly’s Black residents? While a political candidate’s race isn’t the most important factor for Black voters, it is a factor. Black representation in political spaces comes with an expectation that the circumstances and concerns of Black people are spoken for at the policymaking table. That Parker is a Black woman leading a city where Black people are a majority

Finding and Utilizing Culturally Relevant Texts

Classroom texts should represent all children in positive ways, and teachers may have to look for outside resources to make this happen. The report examines racial and ethnic representation in the books used in U.S. curricula and finds that White authors and characters are overrepresented, and portrayals of people of color are often troubling: “When books included groups and cultures of color, they often used stereotypes, disconnected culture from individual people, or portrayed those groups as

The Need for Restorative Justice: The Zwerner and Taylor Story

In January of 2023, a 1st-grade teacher was shot by her student; the bullet tore through her left hand and collapsed one of her lungs. In January of 2023, a 1st-grade teacher, Abigail Zwerner, was shot by her student; the bullet tore through her left hand and collapsed one of her lungs. Zwerner described the situation as a “monstrous event.” According to her statement: “He pointed the gun directly at me… I lost myself. I can’t teach again. I’ve lost my purpose. I love children, but now I’m af

Amy Schumer’s misappropriation of Martin Luther King

The War in Gaza has generated impassioned commentary from all sides, including celebrities. Whether or not we care to agree, people are entitled to take a stance on this war. However, no one is entitled to misappropriate the views of others to justify state violence— especially not the words of Martin Luther King Jr. That is what Amy Schumer did. The comedian shared a the thought that Israel has a right to exist and that antisemitism is wrong. Her share, without comment and in the context of the

What We Don't Talk About When We Talk About Looting

What We Don’t Talk About When We Talk About Looting At the end of his life, Dr. Martin Luther King was unpopular in the eyes of the public. This was because King was opposed to the Vietnam War while pushing for the expansion of civil rights for Black people and economic rights for the poor. I can’t help but think that his comments concerning riots in urban communities didn’t help. In a 1967 speech titled “The Other America,” King doubled down on his commitment to non-violent direct action. How

Florida’s new standards for teaching Black history are part of a long tradition of white supremacy | Opinion

The long war on Black history continues. The state of Florida approved a new set of standards for teaching Black history, and students at the state’s public high schools will now learn that slavery was a benefit to some Black people because it taught them skills. Consider the language from state standard 68.AA.2.3., which examines the duties and trades performed by enslaved Africans, such as farming and blacksmithing. The instruction “includes how slaves developed skills which, in some instances, could be applied for their personal benefit.”

Yes, Juneteenth ended slavery, but for many Black people, life didn’t change | Opinion

Juneteenth is the true day of independence in the United States, a holiday that was long overdue for national recognition. It is a recognition of the many African peoples who marched from plantations to the military to fight in securing their freedom and that of their kinfolk and skinfolk alike. It is also important that the order decreeing that slaves were free was read in Galveston, Texas. The city that became the center of Juneteenth celebrations was once a major port for trafficking African

I was hired to write a Black history curriculum. Here’s what happened next.

Sign up for Chalkbeat Newark’s free twice-weekly newsletter to keep up with the city’s public school system. In 2020, I was approached on LinkedIn about working with an organization to create a Black history and social justice course curriculum for high school students. They sought me out because of my previous commentaries about teaching Black history. I told them I was interested, and they asked me to draft a prospectus for such a course. What I provided was a philosophical overview of what

Some Assistance For Howard Stern

I want to help Howard Stern. On his radio show, Stern lamented the lack of attention he received from NBA players at New York Knicks games. He shared: “When I, you know, I have courtside, they put me courtside and the Black players won’t come over and say hello to me, but they go over to Spike Lee… a lot of times when I’m there, I’m next to Tracy Morgan… And he’s sitting there and like, couple of the players will come over. They like give him that bro shake and stuff. And I’m like — these guys

Another Go-Round With The N-Word

Benjamin Franklin once said that in this world, nothing is certain but death and taxes. Over time, there’s more we can add to that list, including the occasional discussion on who’s licensed to use the N-word. Racism, in general, could be added to that list to encompass all things, from the history and use of the N-word to Franklin’s past as an enslaver, but I digress. That occasional discussion has reappeared with the use of the N-word by a white Missouri teacher who was captured saying it by

Opinion: The Flawed Argument Of 'There’s No Such Thing As A Free Lunch'

As a parent, I get a lot of notices from my children’s school. The school sends letters home, they email me and they call me. It can be a bit much at times and I understand why they do it, but still. One of the more annoying notices is the emails I receive about my negative account balances for lunch purchases. Don’t get me wrong, it’s annoying that my kids would rather spend money at school than eat the food we have at home. As a parent, I am trying to save as much as I can since the price of
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