Lessons in Educational Emancipation from the Radical Teaching Life of Hal Adams
Chapter Ten: Goldfish in the river: Stories capturing moments in time (Annie Knepler)
The Mabel Manning public library writing group met every Monday evening in the building’s community room. The large, open space—often used for public meetings or lectures—was designed to help serve the social function of the library, allowing people to gather and talk while the rest of the library remained quiet. As the workshop facilitator, I would arrive a bit early each week, leaving time to rear- range the tables and chairs to form a circle and greet participants as they walked in. Usually, a couple of the group’s participants were already there to help out. We’d chat and catch up as we reworked the design of the room, turning it into a place where we could read, write, and discuss. As the group’s official start time neared, more participants would trickle in, some coming from home, some from work, some from running errands, and some from school. This was the third community-based writing group associated with the Journal of Ordinary Thought (JOT) that had been formed on Chicago’s Near West Side. The neighborhood—like many of the writing groups where JOT groups met—had changed dramatically since Hal Adams started a workshop in the early '90s at Dett elementary school, down the street from the Mabel Manning library. The Dett workshop, a lively group that involved parents of students at the school, was started when Hal was still at the University of Illinois at Chicago (UIC), running writing workshops through UIC’s College of Education. The Dett work- shop...
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