Noyes Academy

Through’s private school blog, I ran into an article from Dartmouth Life about Noyes Academy. The article is short, and well worth reading in its entirety.

Here in the northeastern US we tend to look at the southern states with a certain amount of disrespect. If you read this story to someone in New England without mentioning where it happened, they would probably assume that it was somewhere south of the Mason-Dixon line. It is an important reminder that the north had – and still has – its share of bigots as well.

I’ve always been proud of going to Northfield Mt. Hermon, for various reasons, this picture of the class of 1889 among them. It’s easy to forget that most private schools, including NMH, went through a “whitening” period in the 20’s and 30’s. (Man, what a wimp way to say it.) There’s a great article from the school’s historian that includes this topic. Many higher-ed institutions established quotas against Jewish students as well. There’s an ongoing but slow-burning controversy about admissions point system bonuses for black and hispanic students and against asian students; you can find some of that in my post about admissions.

For someone like me… I’m as white as they come, but richer for the inclusion of black, hispanic, asian, and other students in my schooling – both as my classmates, as my fellow teachers, and as my students. I’m an atheist, but I’m richer for having taken a bible course, for attending a bar mitzvah, for having friends who are Baha’i or Wiccan. I have a little mental bubble that I live in where I forget that not only are there people far away who hate others for their color, not only are there people right in my neighborhood, but sometimes even I need to adjust my own thinking.

We ain’t there yet, but the more we try the closer we get.

Wikipedia’s page on Noyes includes a link to a talk given about the academy.


About Colin Fredericks

By day I help to create online courses at HarvardX. By night I write roleplaying games.

Posted on February 3, 2012, in Uncategorized and tagged , . Bookmark the permalink. 6 Comments.

  1. I loved that article–I’d never heard of Noyes Academy (despite being a NH native), and this post in general is great. I reblogged it!

    This post is especially apropos after reading the article about legacies, which you linked to in your admissions post.

    In my to-read pile I have a book about Harvard’s attempts to keep homosexuals out of the school, which–given Harvard’s history of trying to keep out Jews, exclusion of women, etc.–isn’t really surprising, but is nonetheless frequently overlooked.

    This is a really interesting topic of discussion. I’d like to hear more about how you’ve needed to “adjust [your] own thinking,” and what you see as the current major issues facing academia and educators regarding bigotry, exclusion vs. inclusion, and so forth. (Yeah, I know, hardly a short post …)

    • Some of my thoughts on school diversity and how best to promote it are in the December 26th post:

      As far as my own thinking, it’s that stuff that blindsides me. I’m walking down the street, I see someone coming toward me, a newscast or movie clip pops into my head, and suddenly I’m wondering “Did I seriously just think that? Did I actually consider crossing the street to avoid this person? Did I start speculating on someone’s social worth because of the color of their skin and what they wear?” It’s aggravating as hell, it’s embarrassing to admit, and we’re saturated in it all the time.

      Like I said, the more we try, the closer we get.

      Anyway, this isn’t really my area of expertise within education, but I’ll see if I can eventually put together a post full of links regarding current major issues.

      • Thanks for the link! I missed that post.

        Indeed, privilege is a huge issue. (Tim Wise, among others, has written a lot about it, although of course Peggy McIntosh’s essay is seminal.) Awareness helps, but I know I always have to try harder. I’m sure I have a ways to go.

        Personally, I’m less interested in a links post (although that would certainly valuable) than in your own observations and experiences. Have you seen any of these issues play out in front of you, as a student or as an educator? What did you hear from your peers? That sort of thing. I could write about my own experiences, I suppose, although that would be a little unusual for my sort of catch-all blog.

  2. Hmm. Apparently replies only go 3 deep.

    I’ll consider. It’s something that I usually only dealt with when it came up right in my face, rather than in a proactive or preventative way – which I suppose is itself part of the issue.

  1. Pingback: More from Noyes Academy « Don't Stop Learning

  2. Pingback: Race and privilige « Don't Stop Learning

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