Moving Beyond the Boundaries
Being a teacher refers less to one who gives answers and expects conformity . . . and more to one who is capable of providing contexts and stimuli so each learner can discover for him or herself. Such teachers are skillful intermediaries and guides in the search for meaning and self-understanding. Rather than creating followers or imitators, their objective is to cultivate discoverers and seekers.
One of the qualities that seem to characterize great teachers is their willingness and capacity to go beyond given and inherited or conditional boundaries. Part of their genius is to be able to see things differently and act accordingly.
— Ronald L. Massanari1
When I was asked to write these essays for teachers of all kinds, to explore with them the powerful and humanizing lessons that are available to us in the story of the post-World War II stage of the Black freedom movement, I was very pleased and deeply honored. For this work allowed me to continue repaying a great debt, one which I owe to all the women and men who have guided me in schools and churches, in community centers and on front porches, who taught me faithfully at street corners in Harlem and in my own living room, and who, even now, still open new vistas and ventures of the mind and heart for my continuing growth and development.
Of course, the essays are far more than personal offerings. They are also meant to send forth words of encouragement, solidarity, and hope to that far-flung band of patient, wise, often