The story of a pioneering high school that uniquely records the challenges, struggles and triumphs by one Tennessee community to provide an equal and quality education to African-American students during the age of school segregation and beyond.
The small town of Whiteville, Tenn., did not plan on spearheading educational innovation. From meager beginnings, its Allen-White High School searched for a common educational vision that the community could share–a vision focused on achievement and excellence at a time when African-American students were living through one of the darkest periods of the 20th century. Robertson recounts the early years of the Allen-White school and the slow but steady evolution that led to its becoming a role model for other African-American communities struggling with the burdens of inadequate education. While Allen-White turned out to be exceptional, it suffered from the same difficulties felt by African-Americans throughout the South–deprivation, racism and second-class citizenship. But with leadership and the support of parents, Allen-White set the stage for countless other schools and communities throughout the United States to step up and achieve their dreams of academic excellence. What this book lacks in pages it more than makes up for in spirit and character. Robertson keeps things frank and honest, and at no time does the prose become muddled by sentimentality or mawkish commentary. The narrative is bare bones, resulting in an unmistakably clear and resonant message. When it comes to creative thinking in education, Education and the American Dream demonstrates that any community can make its dreams come true if will and vision are present. This is no-frills chronicle is information rich and historically significant.
Sure to please educators, parents and anyone interested in regional Tennessee history.