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Forgotten Places

Critical Studies in Rural Education

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Edited By William M. Reynolds

Forgotten Places: Critical Studies in Rural Education critically investigates and informs the construction of the rural, rural identity and the understanding of the rural internationally. This book promotes and expands the notion of critical understandings of rural education, particularly in the areas of race, class, gender, and LGBTQ, with conceptualizations of social justice. While there have been many volumes written on critical issues in urban education, only a small number have been produced on rural education, and the majority of those are not critical. By contrast, Forgotten Places not only discusses "schools in the country," but also expands conceptualizations of the rural beyond schools and place as well as beyond the borders of the United States. It also tackles the artificial duality between conceptualizations of urban and rural. Forgotten Places includes scholarly investigations into the connections among the symbolic order, various forms of cultural artifacts and multiple readings of these artifacts within the context of critical/transformational pedagogy. This book fills a significant gap in the scholarly work on the ramifications of the rural.

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Chapter Seven: Myles Horton and Highlander Folk School: An Enduring Exemplar of Rural Education for Democratic Engagement (Robert Lake / Andy Blunden)

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| 93 →

CHAPTER SEVEN

Myles Horton AND Highlander Folk School

An Enduring Exemplar of Rural Education for Democratic Engagement

ROBERT LAKE AND ANDY BLUNDEN



Figure 7.1. Anti-Highlander billboards were distributed across the South in 1965. Used with permission from the Highlander Research and Education Center Archives

In a 1981 interview with Bill Moyers, Myles Horton recalled the day in late 1959 when Sheriff Elston Clay came to put a padlock on the door of the Highlander Folk School. Some of the news reporters that were there said “What are you laughing about?” I was standing outside laughing, and they took a picture of me standing there laughing. And the sheriff padlocked the building I said “My friend here, you know, he thinks he’s padlocking Highlander … Highlander is an idea-you can’t padlock an idea”.

MOYERS & HORTON (1982, P. 250) ← 93 | 94 →

By 1959 this “idea” of Highlander that Horton spoke about had proven to be a highly successful exemplar of equipping leaders for grassroots labor union organizing and civil rights activism. Consequently, this work was fiercely contested, met violence and was under continual surveillance from the FBI and local authorities. Horton’s formal career in this work spanned more than 50 years yet it was evident even from his early teens, that the “idea” of democracy as an unfinished, lifelong process had possessed his being. Like Dewey he believed that democracy “is a growing...

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