African Americans, particularly in North Carolina, sacrificed more to build schools than any other group. Despite this, many educators accept the myth that African American families are less interested in education than others. Historically, nothing could be further from the truth. I call this damaging stereotype “the inversion.”

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Nida Hayes Murphy, early teacher in Pender County, NC. Undated image courtesy of New Hanover County Public Library, identification provided by local family members

If you teach in Title One (high poverty) schools as I do, then it is likely that you have endured many workshops focused on student deficits. Title One schools are likely to have a higher proportion of students of color than their wealthier counterparts. At one point, I taught in a school…


Mom,writer, filmmaker, teacher, recovering New Yorker

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Editing my feature film Sharecrop

My writing, filmmaking and teaching are all knit together by my fascination with stories. Over the past 17 years I have created documentaries centered on oral history of historic African American schools, and on sharecropping. (You can learn more and link to film trailers, and stream four of my films on Amazon, see my website below for more information).

Regarding my writing and what I publish on Medium, many of my articles are related to the history that is addressed in my documentaries. I have also shared personal essays and short fiction. I grew…


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Booker T. Washington, three-quarter length portrait, seated, facing front. [Between 1880 and 1890] Photograph. Retrieved from the Library of Congress, no known rights restrictions, <www.loc.gov/item/98500578/>.

In the fall of 1910, famed educator and president of Tuskegee Institute, Booker T. Washington, made a series of speeches in North Carolina. On November 3, 1910, he spoke at the Academy of Music in Wilmington (Reaves, Strength through Struggle p. 48). A large crowd of both races attended his speech, in which he said:

The Negro is here and is here to stay. We are to live in the South together, black and white, and it is sometimes helpful for us to speak directly and frankly to each other… [we must] do everything that will promote goodwill and friendship…


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Picture courtesy of the Rockefeller Archive, General Education Board Records, Series 1054, TENN 126.1- County Training Schools 1915–1919

In this moving picture taken c. 1919, a girl named Clara Coleman holds the reins and looks through time with clear-eyed determination. Writing on the back of the old picture notes that she drives five miles over rough roads to the Fayette County Training School in Somerville, Tennessee in order to obtain education for herself and her younger siblings.

We can discern several things from the picture and from the notes on the back: First, this young lady, a 10th grade student, is committed to her education. The notes say that every day, before setting out for school, she milks…


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Photo by Ralph Darabos on Unsplash

However irrational she knew it was, Sonia could not shake the connection that had been made in her mind. The image of Sarah Brown as a girl driving the carriage hitched to a beautiful white horse, and the uncanny similarity of that horse to her beloved Willow, stayed with her. So much so, that she found herself thinking of reasons to return to Miss Sarah’s apartment for another look at the picture. The opportunity came sooner than she expected.

The New York City summer continued day after sweltering day. Each afternoon seemed the same. Sonia sat on the front stoop…


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Sylvester Hoover holds up a cotton sack similar to the ones he and his family used to pick cotton in the MS Delta in the 1960s. Picture by Claudia Stack, all rights reserved.

During African American history month, we often highlight the Civil Rights struggles that played out in cities. For example, The Little Rock Nine and The Montgomery Bus Boycott. The 1963 March on Washington for Jobs and Freedom, where Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. delivered his famous “I Have a Dream” speech, is usually the concluding event mentioned.

There is a stereotype that the African American experience became mostly a northern, urban one after the Great Migration. While it is true that approximately half (about six million) of the African American population relocated to the North and West between 1916 and…


It’s simple, and it might help you too

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Photo by Liam Johnson on Unsplash

Please note: This article presents research findings and reflections on an individual experience, but is not intended to replace the advice of your doctor. Always consult your doctor before starting a weight loss program or adding dietary supplements.

Here it is, the end of January. Hopefully, you haven’t abandoned any resolutions you may have made to improve your health. For many of us, losing weight would benefit our health. Fortunately, the amount you lose doesn’t have to be drastic to create positive changes in your health.

This article shares a few facts about weight loss and reveals a simple change…


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Photo by Phil Hearing on Unsplash

Perhaps the pandemic tipped the scales for you, or perhaps you were already determined to make a change in 2021. Either way, there are some good reasons to consider moving from an urban to a rural area, a trend that is on the rise. Here are some things to consider before making this big move.

1. Real estate is cheaper to buy, but nice rentals are hard to find. Compared to major metro areas, rural houses are still very affordable, despite the fact that rural home prices have risen faster than others in 2020. Prices can be so cheap where…


Or is it a mix of both?

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Photo by Blogging Guide on Unsplash

A lot has been written about the group of small investors who encouraged each other on Reddit to run up the price of GameStop (GME) after realizing that hedge funds were “shorting” the stock (betting it would go down in value). As Alex Kirshnir explained in a recent Slate article,

Whether for profit or ideological reasons, the Redditors are winning. They’ve bought the hell out of GME, and short sellers have begun to abandon their positions en masse, leading the stock to go up even more as they buy it back. It’s a…


A serial novel by Claudia Stack

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Photo by Adrian Moran on Unsplash

Dusk was finally falling; the summer day had been long. The man, who some called Mick, deftly sent one more pitchfork full of hay to the front of Willow’s stall. The white mare was already munching contentedly, her head down. She nosed around in the hay for tender alfalfa leaves. The man always found a way to sneak her a bit extra. He patted her neck to say goodnight, but his mind was far from the stable.

Walking down the stable ramps, the man rubbed the silver Celtic cross in his pocket. It never…

Claudia Stack

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