Martin Luther King Jr. and Lyndon B. Johnson

Yes, We Still Have To Do Things Twice As Well

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

“Why don’t the adults ever have to get into dress code? It’s bullshit.” The student didn’t say it loud enough for the dean to hear it, but, with me standing right next to him, he could have whispered it and the message would have resonated clearly with me. The problem with his logic stems from the fact that, on that particular day, as on 178 of the 180 days of …

Martin Luther King Statue, National Mall, Washington DC

Where Monuments Stand Still

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

A few weeks ago, The Martin Luther King Jr. National Memorial Committee sent me a mailing about the new memorial off the Tidal Basin in the national mall near the Jefferson Memorial, across from the FDR Memorial, and a little walk from the Lincoln Memorial. They asked me, and I assume plenty others, if I would donate some amount of my funds to this dedication. I read the letter and …

Superman Dies

No More Heroes

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

Last week, the whole world found out that Guru a.k.a. Keith Elam of the world-renown hip-hop duo Gang Starr had (ostensibly) died of a recent heart attack he suffered the day before. Entertainment bloggers reported it. Wikipedia reported it. Celebrities who are usually in the know said it. Then, I typed up a dedication to the man, thinking these three had become relatively credible sources. Ten minutes later, the news …

Martin Luther King Jr. Pledging Allegiance at the Lincoln Memorial

MLK Day: It Doesn’t Matter With Me Now

Jose Vilson Jose 12 Comments

I’m not going to quit being an educator. Even when people want me to quit, even when the gossip comes raining down, even when the whole world tries to tell me that education is not particularly valuable in the American hierarchy of occupations, I know I cannot quit. I know when people ask me to stop talking about the prejudices and injustices of the day, whether subliminally or overtly, I’ve …

Coretta Scott King

Short Notes: Because Everybody Can Serve

Jose Vilson Short Notes 3 Comments

A few links: I’m not hating on Wyclef Jean, but his response to the accusations about Yele Haiti left me wondering. Shady business gives shady returns. [Rap Radar] What kind of font are you? Answer this interactive survey for more. (password is: character) [Pentagram] While I didn’t have VH1 Soul, I’m certainly disappointed at its shutting down. It’s one of the few channels whose programming catered to my demographic. [Music …

I Am A Man

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

On Saturday, NYC Educator posted an interesting speech, and here it goes: At first, when watching this video, I grimaced. How does a teacher get to the point where they have to use such terse language for a student who’s less than 1/2 his age? For that matter, it almost seems excessive when we hear the n-word used like a pronoun in our schools and we question the effectiveness of …

Backstage at the Democratic National Convention

I Shall Fear No Man (Y’all Don’t Hear Me Though)

Jose Vilson Jose 3 Comments

My favorite speech from the late Reverend Dr. Martin Luther King has been called “I’ve Been To The Mountaintop” and it ends something like this: And then I got into Memphis. And some began to say the threats, or talk about the threats that were out. What would happen to me from some of our sick white brothers? Well, I don’t know what will happen now. We’ve got some difficult …

Martin Luther King Jr.

Shot Rings Out In The Memphis Sky

Jose Vilson Jose 1 Comment

The speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. constantly remind me why we need to find peace, even to this day. Barack Obama’s latest speech on race invoked those sort of images from past civil rights leaders (and probably planned in many ways), while even Condoleeza Rice, a woman I’ve been very critical of, spoke up about issues of race in this country and how the legacy of this bias continues …

The Dream Upgraded: Reactions

Jose Vilson 10 Comments

Two school years ago or so, when Rosa Parks died, I wrote the word “nigger” in chalk, and took the time to educate my children about her importance, and what she meant to me and the rest of us. Last year, I used hip-hop to help my students understand the reasons why I don’t use it and why this country still has a long way to go before it’s truly …

The Dream Upgraded

Jose Vilson 8 Comments

  It all started when we had our ELA tests and the kids were acting out, and really, acting out. After a while, I just got tired of their disrespect and lack of care for their own education, and showed them why their teachers fight so hard for them. Below is the letter I wrote to them on Wednesday, and if you don’t like it, well, leave a comment. It was as …