Through About.com’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.