ERIC Number: ED362910
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Aug
Reference Count: N/A
Ethos in Action: Public Relations at the Highlander Folk School, 1955-1956.
An examination of Rosa Parks' relationship with the Highlander Folk School from the first encounter in 1955 through Labor Day of 1956 provides a new understanding of the school's public relations program that sought to end segregation in the Jim Crow South. Myles Horton founded Highlander in 1932 to provide an adult residential center in the South for the development of community leaders among school, church, civic, labor, and farm groups. By the time Parks first visited in 1955, Highlander had already compiled an impressive record of training Southern community leaders. Although Parks was not sent to Montgomery from Highlander to start a boycott, the city's black community was primed for the opportunity that her arrest presented. Personal circumstances combined to encourage Highlander to recruit Parks for their continuing efforts. The conscious development of feedback from participants such as Parks served to develop the school's activist agenda for the Freedom movement. Considering the capricious and often violent public dynamic the school's administration faced, Highlander's research-driven process would have satisfied even today's criteria for proactive, goal-based, research and evaluation-driven management recommended by leading public relations and communication educators. The evidence of this case challenges public relations educators and practitioners who, in constructing a formal discipline like other disciplines, have named exclusive ethical standards to match a separately derived framework of professional operating norms. (Contains 30 references and 52 notes.) (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Historical Materials; Reports - Evaluative
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Educational Issues; Highlander Folk School TN
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Association for Education in Journalism and Mass Communication (76th, Kansas City, MO, August 11-14, 1993).