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ERIC Number: ED455994
Record Type: Non-Journal
Publication Date: 2000-Mar
Pages: 27
Abstractor: N/A
Reference Count: N/A
A Greater Fairness: May Justus as Popular Educator.
Loveland, George W.
May Justus started teaching at elementary schools in Appalachia in the 1930s. She believed that mountain schools were the center of community life and drew subject matter from the needs of the students rather than imposing a curriculum designed by professional educators. Teaching arts and crafts and operating a communal soup pot at the school, she was conducting democratically structured cooperative study decades before that became the definition of "popular education." She had published 12 children's books by 1939 when she wrote her first book that addressed a social problem--alcoholism. Her books taught children how to behave not by preaching, but by portraying children who learned to act for the family or the community, all in the context of their Appalachian heritage. She volunteered extensively at the Highlander Folk School, which focused on adult education, labor organizing, and the civil rights movement. Her exposure to black people at Highlander throughout the 1940s and 1950s led her to become committed to racial equality. Bombings of local schools and attacks on Highlander by segregationists prompted her to write children's books showing how Appalachian folks might live when their schools were integrated. In her books, the children recognize that black and white people already agree on the important things--strong families, loving parents, and strong communities that pull together in difficult times. May Justus was a true radical, an inside agitator who drew on the region's best values to enact social change. (Contains 51 endnotes.) (TD)
Publication Type: Historical Materials
Education Level: N/A
Audience: N/A
Language: English
Sponsor: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A