Racial Diversity at Rocky Mount Academy

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Over the semester I have done a great deal of listening, reading, reflecting, and a good bit of talking as well. I realized early on in this course that in order to look toward the future, I had to dig through the past. I began by examining myself and the looking into the history of the independent school movement. I examined my own feelings about race and privilege, the founding of Rocky Mount Academy (RMA), and spoke with Tony Shanks, RMA’s first Black student. I came to the conclusion that in order to shape the future of RMA, I must accept who I am, examine the history of the school, and proactively transform who we were into who we can become. I believe we should continue to strive to be the finest school in Rocky Mount by providing the best education to students regardless of race, religion, class, or economic status. Although I still have more to learn and more to do as an educator, I feel I have begun an important journey to help me be a part of a transformation at my school. Looking back to the first night of class, I distinctly remember being in tears. I was alone, at the front of the room, I let go of my friends’ hands and stepped ahead of my classmates for every statement of describing an advantage or opportunity. It was a game meant to demonstrate our diverse backgrounds, but I was embarrassed and ashamed when I “won” the race. I felt out of place, isolated, and unheard. How was I going to convince my Black professor and my six Black classmates that I was not a racist? More importantly, could I convince myself? Here I am, a privileged, White woman who left the public school setting to teach in an affluent private school where my students are around ninety percent Caucasian. Am I prejudiced? Am I a raci... ... middle of paper ... ...ps of Change with VISTA: Tarheel Junior Historian 44:1, (fall 2004). Raleigh, NC: Jones, Alice Eley. Kane, P. R., & Orsini, A.J. (2003). The Colors of Excellence. New York, NY: Teachers College, Columbia University. McIntosh, P. (1990). White Privilege: Unpacking the Invisible Knapsack (Working Paper 189, Wellesley College, 1990). Independent School, (winter 1990). Shanks, T. (Personal Interview, April 16, 2010) Tatum, B.D. (1997). Why are all the Black kids sitting together in the cafeteria? and other conversations about race. New York, NY: Basic Books. Walker, M. (2009). Happy 40th RMA! Retrieved from http://www.rmacademy.com/ 15751011794622773/cwp/view.asp?A=3&Q=283342&C=54343 Raper, S.W. (2010) RM welcomes niece of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.. Retrieved from http://ci.rocky-mount.nc.us/pbs/cmthread.asp?ForumID=1&TopicID=139

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