Wednesday, May 18, 2011

A College Degree: 55 Years Deferred

When it comes to history, many students seem to embrace the solipsistic position that the existence of any event that occured before their year of birth is unimportant at best, dubious at worst. As a history teacher, I aim to help my students understand how deeply the events of the past influence contemporary society and our place in it. As a result, whenever I come across a human interest story that sheds light on the influence of the past on people today, I must share it with my students.

This past week, the New York Times featured such a story: In 1958, Burlyce Sherrell Logan left the University of North Texas after facing intensely racist bullying. She worked and raised a family and finally, in 2006, returned to the University. This past weekend, she earned her college degree, and her grandchildren celebrated with her.

While Logan's story is simple, her determination reflects the best of the human spirit, just as her delayed graduation demonstrates the ways in which the past can touch the present and the present can transcend the past. The article serves as a reminder that history is alive—something Logan knows well. At the end of the piece, she quips, “In September, I’m going to start on my master’s in history."

No comments:

Post a Comment