In this episode, we look at examples of educational excellence throughout African American history in the face of tremendous challenges. Two deeply committed educators challenge us to think about the educational system more broadly given the many ways we learn. They offer examples of questioning language and reconnecting to self, community, and land bring forth healing.
Our guest, Ishmail Conway Ph.D., is a “public intellectual” and “catalyst.” Dr. Conway is a third-generation educator, professional dramatist, father and activist. His youth was spent in Southside Richmond, Bronx, New York and Philadelphia. As a youth, he performed with Duke Ellington in the Concert of Sacred Music, Ahmal and the Night Visitors and several other operas. He co-founded Soweto Stage company in Richmond and has appeared in films and performed for the Colonial Williamsburg, Valley Forge Foundation. Conway’s work as a theatrical director is critically acclaimed including two world premiere plays and a produced premiere opera on Richmond’s Churchill. Dr. Conway worked on interview projects for the nation’s 50th celebration of the Brown Decision. Many of the interviews were published in the book The Unfinished Agenda of Brown v. Board of Education. At the National Archives, he presented a lecture on his research model for the kickoff of the National Archives year-long research of Brown thru May 2004. Last year, his work interviewing teachers and activists, over the past 20 years was noted in Harvard’s History of Education Quarterly. The Association of College Unions-International selected Ishmail as the Multicultural Educator of the Year.
Our other guest, Rodney Hopson is the first born of two passionate and lifelong learners and teachers, blessed to inherit a spirit of resolve and perseverance, an unwavering commitment to his fellow (wo)man, and an increased desire to leave the world a better place than the one into which he was born. Hopson currently serves as a professor of Evaluation in the Department of Educational Psychology, College of Education, University of Illinois Urbana Champaign where he holds appointments/affiliations in the Department of Educational Policy, Organization, & Leadership and the Center of African Studies. Nearly 25 years as a university professor, Hopson has received funding from the National Science Foundation, National Institutes of Health, Robert Woods Johnson Foundation, W. K Kellogg Foundation, and other local and international funders in support of his evolving research and evaluation that lie in understanding factors that contribute to the optimal aspirational and academic success of underserved and underrepresented groups in social and natural sciences. His post-doctoral/sabbatical studies included academic positions at the University of Namibia (as Fulbright Scholar), the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health and Hygiene and Centre of African Studies, Cambridge University.
Resources mentioned on the show
African American evaluators article
Education of Blacks in the South 1860-1935 book
Contact Dr. Ishmail Conway email: firstname.lastname@example.org
Contact Dr. Rodney Hopson email: email@example.com
Originally recorded on 4.30.2022.