Wednesday, January 28, 2009

K-12 Topic: Children

10-second review: Story by Robert Coles about an 8-year-old girl who had attended one of the early integrated public schools in the Deep South.

Title: “Women’s Ways of Writing, Or, Images, Self-images and Graven Images.” CJ Swearingen. College Composition and Communication (May 1994), 251-258. A publication of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “Working in the Deep South during the early 1950s with grade school children who were among the first to integrate the public schools, [Robert Coles] experienced a conversion of sorts. He came face to face with the power of religious conviction…as he listened to an eight-year-old patient, Laurie:

‘I was all alone, and those people were screaming, and suddenly I saw God smiling, and I smiled…. A woman was standing there [near the school door], and she shouted at me, ‘Hey, you little nigger, what you smiling at?’ I looked right at her face, and I said, ‘At God.’ Then she looked up at the sky, and she looked at me, and she didn’t call me any more names.’ ”

Comment: A quote from James Moffett: “And the time has come for intellectuals to quit confusing spirituality with superstition and sectarianism.” College Composition and Communication (May 1994), p. 261. I’m not sure what this story means to anyone else, but I felt that I needed to repeat it—and Moffett’s distinction between spirituality and superstition. RayS.

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