Tuesday, February 2, 2010

BHM: Josephine Carroll Smith

I've been following the blog Like A Whisper for maybe 6 months now. It keeps on educating me. (Professor Susurro is very interested in media issues, and sometimes I skip the analysis of TV shows and movies, since that's just not a part of my life.) She's got some sharp analysis of race, gender, and class issues, and tells great stories too.

From her post today on Black History Month:
I think we often shrink black history down to key figures in moments that ultimately celebrate dominant narratives (what a good country the U.S. is for abolishing slavery or embracing civil rights or making millionaires, etc.) and erase the harder questions, struggles, and failures of the nation in the face of powerful opposition by black women and girls.
So the book I'm picking today is about a woman who did a lot of good in a realm where the U.S. is still failing Black children terribly - education. Josephine Carroll Smith worked in the Washington DC public schools throughout her professional life, retiring as a Director of Elementary Education. Over the years, she "opened her home, her heart, and her purse to numerous young Black men who were struggling to educate themselves."

That quote is from the biographical page at the end of Pictures for Miss Josie, by Sandra Belton. The story is written from the point of view of a young boy whose father takes him to meet the delightful but intimidating (for him) Miss Josie, who helped Dad make it through college. By the end, he's grown and is introducing his own son to Miss Josie, who helped him through college, and helped him follow his passion.

My son and I love this book.

I wanted to find a page or two online that tells more of her story. Shockingly, I haven't succeeded. Here's a challenge for those who like searching online. Find us more information on the life of Josephine Carroll Smtih!

(I did find a page that has lots of good children's books, and a great mission: Embracing the Child. When I have time to read something more than math books, I'll go back there for inspiration.)

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