In gratitude for the authors, editors, reviewers, and readers who have contributed to Vitae Scholasticae's growth, I take this opportunity to share some of my own biographical work in the issue's introductory article, "Revisiting Schools of To-morrow: Lessons From Educational Biography." Drawing on my research on teacher activist Flora White-a largely unsung contributor to the formative period of progressive education-I demonstrate how the life of a little-known individual can inform larger historical trends. My discoveries from White's archive offer new insights on John Dewey while calling for a reexamination of the historical narrative surrounding women in the early progressive education movement.
The two subsequent articles also deal with activist educators who have largely remained unrecognized. In "The Making of a Black Communist Educator: Doxey A. Wilkerson, 1922-1943," Shante J. Lyons traces the personal journey of an esteemed African American academic that culminated in his membership in the Communist Party of the United States. Lyons notes that Wilkerson's life inspires the "radical imagination," prompting inquiries into new possibilities for Black liberation. In the next article,'" Why does not somebody speak OUT?': Mary Ann Shadd Cary's Heteroglossic Black Protofeminist Nationalism," Elizabeth Cali offers a new perspective on a Black woman who transgressed conventionality to make herself heard. Readers will recall that Shadd Cary was a focus in Carol B. Conaway's essay, "Racially Integrated Education: The Antebellum Thought of Mary Ann Shadd Cary and Frederick Douglass." It appeared in VS in 2010, as well as in Life Stories: Exploring Issues in Educational History Through Biography, an edited book published in 2014 to commemorate the 30th anniversary of ISEB and Vitae Scholasticae.
This issue also presents an interview with Lora Helvie-Mason, conducted by Assistant Editor Alison Reeves. Helvie-Mason-a VS author and ISEB Treasurer-is an Associate Professor of Communication Studies at Tarleton State University, where she directs the Office of Diversity and Inclusion. A member of ISEB since graduate school, Helvie-Mason reflects on ways ISEB and Vitae have impacted her career. She envisions future initiatives for the organization and its journal to meet the needs of new members and emerging scholars.
The issue concludes with two book reviews on the lives of activists whose educational contributions have been far-reaching. In a review of Audrey Thomas McCluske's A Forgotten Sisterhood: Pioneering Black Women Educators and Activists in the Jim Crow South, Donyell L. Roseboro discusses the book's portrayal of four Black women who worked individually and collectively to use education as a counteroffensive against widespread racial oppression. In the next review, Leslie Holt examines Gale Eaton's biography, The Education of Alice M. Jordan: Navigating a Career in Children's Librarianship. Eaton draws on archival material to depict the life of a sea captain's daughter who headed children's work at the Boston Public Library from 1902-1940, and who made important advancements in the field at a time when ideals were high, wages were low, and credentials were spotty.
We hope you enjoy the issue! In closing, I am reminded of Samuel Johnson's observation that "No species of writing seems more worthy of cultivation than biography, since none can be more delightful or more useful, none can more certainly enchain the heart by irresistible interest, or more widely diffuse instruction to every diversity of condition." (1) Thank you for your continued support of ISEB and Vitae Scholasticae. May your experiences with biography be both delightful and useful, both interesting and instructive-and may your life writing be received by an appreciative audience that is richly diverse.
(1) Samuel Johnson, The Rambler, 20 (October 13, 1750), as quoted in Nigel Hamilton, How To Do Biography: A Primer (Cambridge, MA: Harvard University Press, 2008), 7.
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|Date:||Sep 22, 2015|
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