As I watch press coverage of the protests blooming around the country in the wake of the grand jury’s decision in the shooting death of Michael Brown, I am reminded of a piece from Ernest Morrell’s presidential address at the NCTE convention this Sunday.
He is reflecting upon Langston Hughes’ poem, “Harlem”:
“It is my belief that no kid steps onto a kindergarten campus in September planning to be a high school dropout. What we have in front of us are dreams. Each of those kids represents a dream. Their own dreams. The dreams of those who love them, and fed them, and clothed them, and dropped them off and cried when they walked away. We are not as concerned as a society as we could be about the dream but we want to throw all sorts of money at the explosion. That is in Langston Hughes’ poem because if you start with the dream it adds a little bit of a moral imperative that you nurture that dream… It’s much easier to nurture a dream than to deal with an explosion.”