Lessons Learned: From the American South to Spain
The summer is a time for travel and exploration. And in this edition, we explore the rich legacy of Black boarding schools and travel with one of our writers to Barcelona, Spain. First, senior writer Ronald Roach explores the tradition, history and future of Black boarding schools. There was a time, pre-desegregation, when these schools were one of the few options available to Black students, particularly in the South. Local Blacks, sometimes in conjunction with religious organizations, took it upon themselves to build independent elementary and secondary schools, which included the ranks of boarding schools. But due to the desegregation of public schools, only a handful of historically Black boarding schools survive today. However, even though the number of schools has dwindled, Black boarding school alumni have fond and vivid memories of their alma maters, attributing much of their educational preparation and personal growth to these schools.
Reading Ron’s article, you will learn that the remaining boarding schools are working hard to ensure their own long-term survival by re-connecting with alumni, as well as initiating fund-raising efforts.
From the American South to Spain, Kristina Lane, associate editor of our sister publication Community College Week, had the opportunity to travel to Barcelona, Spain, earlier this summer. Kris, who already spoke pretty decent Spanish, was put to the test when she arrived in Spain. She found it a bit more challenging having to converse with native Spanish speakers. And although it was scary at first, she treasured the experience of having to ask questions in Spanish, get directions, and overall immersing herself in the city’s culture.
As we continue to report in our international education editions, there is no substitute for understanding another culture than to actually spend time in the respective country — speaking the language, meeting the people, eating the food. Barcelona appears to be a unique city, in that it has been greatly influenced by other European countries such as France and Italy, more so than perhaps other Spanish cities. Kris, like most people traveling somewhere for the first time, felt that there wasn’t enough time to even “scratch the surface of Spain,” and she’s already working on planning her next trip to the region.
On a more sober note, Black Issues correspondent David Hefner reports on a study conducted by The Hartford Courant newspaper, which suggests that graduates of Howard and Meharry medical schools were among the nation’s most reprimanded. Officials at both institutions, as well as Black medical school alumni, are disturbed and outraged over the study’s findings. Howard and Meharry officials feel that without access to the newspaper’s full methodology, they cannot adequately respond to or look into the study’s validity. What is known, however, is that both institutions over the years have produced not only the majority of the country’s Black physicians, but some of the most well-trained and well-respected in the field.