Ken Macrorie's book, Uptaught, is one of my go-to reads. As a teacher, Macrorie was fearless. Macrorie chose a student essay by Tom Greenwald to illustrate fearless students' voices and, from the first time I read it, it was seared into my mind and my soul and comes back to me now in the wake of the murders in Charleston, the city of my birth. The essay was written the Friday after Martin Luther King, Jr. was assassinated. That same day, Macrorie described a scene from campus: "about 200 black students at my university sneaked in the huge Student Union and chained shut all the doors. They held the building for eight hours, eating in its cafeteria in orderly fashion, paying for their meals, cleaning the building before they finally left. Outside, hundreds of white students gathered, some complaining they were being denied the use of their building, separated from morning coffee in the Snack Bar." (p. 170). Beyond the paragraphs excerpted below, the student writer Greenwald goes on to look critically at his own whiteness. He also speaks to the overwhelming "impenetrable insensitivity" he saw in the responses of white people to the assassination of Martin Luther King, Jr.; yet, he hoped some would eventually see their blindness as Lear eventually saw his (p. 172).
Teacher, writer, activist, coffee enthusiast, hopeful. Pass it on.