"That's What I Growed
Race, Redemption and
A social program like Head Start cannot promote the development of children, families, and communities unless it recognizes the overwhelming salience of race in the American experience.
Along the way of life, someone must have sense enough and morality enough to cut off the chain of hate. . . . 1
On April 3, 1996, two African-American women associated with a Head Start program in a rural county in the Piedmont of North Carolina accompanied me to Duke University to conduct a seminar on "Welfare Rights and Women's Rights." Project Head Start is the well-respected school-readiness and family- support program for low-income three and four year-old children that was established in 1964 by President Lyndon Johnson. 2 The seminar was part of a colloquium, "Think Globally, Act Locally: ,"Women's Leadership and Grassroots Activism sponsored by the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation and the Duke University of North Carolina Joint Center for Research on Women. It featured presentations by activists from regions with records of widespread human rights violation, including Rwanda, China, Zaire, Haiti, and South Africa.
The older of the two Head Start women, Sally Clemmons, had taught public school in the counties served by the Head Start program for 50 years before re-