Resources for Teachers and Students
Prepare: The University of California at Berkeley
recently named a building to house graduate students after
Ida Jackson, who the university calls "a most memorable
lady." Ida Jackson was one of only seventeen African-American
students to attend the University of California when she
enrolled there in 1920. A webfeature of the UC Berkeley
News contains Dr.
Jackson's biography, as well as a slideshow of images
in her memory.
The corpus of Dr. Jackson's writing includes such pioneering
works, for their time, as Development of Negro Children
in Reference to Education, published in 1923, and The Librarian's
Role in Creating Racial Understanding, published in 1944.
The short article found
in Architects of Peace is excerpted from "Ida Jackson:
Oakland's First Black Teacher Reflects on her Career,"
by Charles Aikens.
Explore: Up to the point of her death, Ida Jackson
maintained that black students were not encouraged to succeed
in collegiate studies to the same extent that white students
were. Is this still true? Find out the percentage of Caucasian
students who successfully complete the requirements for
a degree at the institution where you currently study, compared
to the percentage of minority students who do so. How does
this compare to the national average?
Write: Over the course of the past decade, "diversity"
has become a major concern of most institutions of higher
education, with many universities establishing structures
specifically to promote multicultural diversity within the
population of faculty and students. University curriculums
have also been expanded in this direction as well, especially
in terms of the pursuit of Ethnic Studies. Is it reasonable
to assume that increased diversity leads to greater harmony,
and therefore peace, within a closed community like a college
campus, or does the opposite occur? Does fear, resentment,
and racial prejudice increase in an environment where diversity
has been forced upon the student population? Using a simple
instrument of your own design, conduct a survey of fifty
of your classmates, concentrating on their expectations
of what an increasingly diverse environment would accomplish,
and then compile a three-page summary of your findings.
Extend: One of the major differences in educational
systems since the days when Ida Jackson became the first
African-American to teach in the Oakland Public School system
is the value of diversity in campus communities. Discover
whether there's a specific program to promote diversity
at the institution where you study, and whose responsibility
it is to implement that program. In what ways can individual
students assist in efforts to increase, not to mention celebrate,
diversity within the school?
Additional Resource: The National Education Association
(USA) has published a "Diversity
Timeline" on their website, which traces advances
made subsequent to the U.S. Supreme Court decision "Brown
v. Board of Education.
Biography of Ida