SHCY 2013 recap: Spaces of Integration and Education

Annmarie Valdes, 3rd year PhD Student at Loyola University provides this summary of Session 3 on Spaces of Integration and Education

First Presenter: Francoise Hamlin

Anne Moody and her book Coming of Age in Mississippi. Ms. Hamlin presents an overview of Moody’s life and the personal conflicts about her own activism in her life. Specifically Ms. Hamlin situates Moody and her inner conflicts within the Civil Rights movement. The presenter gave a good account of her fame and her downward spiral—from activism and authorship—then the mental price she paid for her Civil Rights activism, but her trauma from Jim Crow was never repaired. By using the lens of trauma—one gains a nuanced understanding of the personal cost of the Civil Rights movement.

Second Presenter: Laura Lovett, Educate Homeless Children

The presenter begins in Chicago and provides a contemporary account of homeless children—schooling and access to services, and for some families domestic violence and/or substance abuse. How services for the homeless often result in inner city displacement and thus a loss of connection of their community—how then does a homeless family emerge from this type of personal, family, yet city-wide problem

Ms. Lovett then turns to advocacy—and how advocates as viewed as radicals—example of Dorn—and speaking out on behalf of children-and the shelter schools—what did Dorn find? The shelter school was a SES version of separate but NOT equal education—this is because the students were viewed as transient—the major barriers are attendance and the school environment—including the quality of the teaching and supplies—putting to task the notion of schools as sites of stability!

Ms. Lovett then connects Dorn’s work with the eventual passage of the McKinney-Vento Homeless Act—a federal act to improve and educate homeless families about their rights regarding educational access—leaving open the question: does better law lead to better education and social services?

Overall thoughts:
Both presenters interconnect childhood, trauma (mental, social, economic) civil rights and schooling.
These two presenters open up the question of what role does trauma play in the history of childhood—life histories—how can historians research and tell these stories in a way that does not further subjugate these individuals and not further use them—if the individuals in these stories write about their own trauma—does a historian, by presenting their stories, use them in a way that leaves them trapped in the historiography as traumatized? Especially considering the diminished voice of the historian in national polity making? Or are these ultimately stories of empowerment, despite the trauma? If so, how can these histories effect—influence the current lack of equal access around the globe?

What do you all think?