Community & Government

Why I Send My Child to a Segregated School (And Why You Should, Too)

Nikole Hannah-Jones shares her reasoning for sending her own daughter to an all-Black, high-poverty school. She challenges all parents to embrace real equality and live their values when choosing how to educate their children.

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Topics include: "Carefully Curated Integration" • Live Your Values

Seven preeminent Black thought leaders share their insight on the reckoning with race in America in three parts: past, present, and future.

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[MUSIC PLAYING] - One of the earliest lessons that you are taught in this society is that education is the great equalizer. And we are taught to believe that what also makes America exceptional is our public education, that we were one of the first nations to begin adopting a system of common schools that would be funded for and by the public. But the darker side of that story is that, from the very beginning, with the first public schools being established in Boston, Massachusetts in the 1800s, we have never intended Black children to receive the same type of education as white children. In fact, for the vast history of this country, it was illegal for most Black children to learn to read and write. And when we began public schools, Black children were at first prohibited from those public schools. And then, of course, legally segregated within those public schools. So I, of course, didn't know any of that history when I was in second grade and all of a sudden my bus ride started getting a lot longer and all of a sudden I wasn't going to school in my neighborhood anymore. But I was going to school across the river, deep in the white side of town, in someone else's neighborhood. I didn't realize at the time I was part of a voluntary school desegregation order that my hometown implemented to avoid being sued by the Justice Department. And I wouldn't realize that really until I was an adult and really began reporting on school segregation myself. But the impact that that program had on me is clear. I went from some of the lowest performing schools in my community to the highest performing. And me being the same child, I suddenly got access to the best teachers and the best instruction and the best facilities. And I can't say for certain whether I would have found the success that I found if I had remained in my segregated, under-resourced schools, but I can tell you that, based on the data and statistics, it would have been far less likely. I started my career covering a very segregated school system in North Carolina and really seeing up front and close and personal how segregation still existed, even though we say that it was prohibited by the Supreme Court in 1954, and how Black children still don't get the same resources as white children unless they're in schools with white children. I remember being a young reporter and seeing all of these people who were advocating on behalf of Black children in these segregated schools. And you would ask them, well, where does your child go to school? And every last one of them would say that their child didn't go to school with the kids that they said they were fighting for. And they always had a good reason, a legitimate reason. But I also understood that that really came from a belief that some children were more worthy than others, that there was a fear of Black children, and that we somehow believe Black children are simply deserving of less. It's easy to have value...

About the Instructor

From critical race theory to the 1619 Project, Black intellectuals are reshaping conversations on race in America. Now seven of those preeminent voices share their insight on the reckoning with race in America in three parts: past, present, and future. Gain a foundational understanding of the history of white supremacy and discover a path forward through the limitless capacity and resilience of Black love.

Featured Masterclass Instructor

Angela Davis, Cornel West, Kimberlé Williams Crenshaw, Nikole Hannah-Jones, Sherrilyn Ifill, Jelani Cobb, and John McWhorter

Seven preeminent Black thought leaders share their insight on the reckoning with race in America in three parts: past, present, and future.

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