California educator Suzette Love on the evolution of black education: “From Emancipation to COVID-19”

Dec. 20, 2020: A Note from Hope Katz Gibbs, producer, Black Lives Matter Radio Show — How does a young woman go from a small town in Southern CA to rock stardom in Sweden? What makes her trade that in for a career as an educator and academic?

You’ll learn about all that and more on tonight’s episode!

First, a little back story: I had the privilege of meeting Suzette Love when we took a graduate class in the fall of 2019 at Claremont Graduate University. Called “Good Work,” it was taught by world-renowned positive psychologist Dr. Jeanne Nakamura. Since we were two of the oldest students in the class (by far), we’d huddle together when it came time for break-out class discussions. I was always fascinated to hear Suzie’s perspective on topics ranging from “what is good work?” to her term paper’s presentation on black educators’ history and powerful impact in America. Tonight, we have the privilege of interviewing Suzette for our show!

As you’ll learn during the Q&A with our host, Tony Farmer, Suzie is studying for her Ph.D. in educational studies at CGU. In addition to having been a classroom teacher for much of her career, she also spent more than a decade of her life as a professional singer, songwriter, and music producer in Sweden. Born in Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised in Southern California, Suzie admits her claim to fame is the years she spent as a rock star in Europe.

In this podcast, you’ll learn:
1. How Suzie made Sweden her home — and how she became a pop star in Europe
2. Why she chose to return to the US to pursue a career as an educator
3. What she’s accomplished and observed as a teacher
4. The future that Suzie sees for black children post-pandemic
5. Who this academic wants to be in the years to come

From Emancipation to COVID-19 — We’ve Come This Far by Faith: The Evolution of Black Education

An Essay by Suzette M. Love – MPA; M. Ed

January 2021 — The Civil Rights Movement leaders of the 1950s and 1960s were moved to create a world where their children could take advantage of the economic opportunities so endemic to the American dream. With the precedent established by the Brown Vs. Board decision barring segregation in public schools in 1954, and the passage of the Civil Rights Act of 1964, which prohibited discrimination in public accommodations, most Black people believed that they were well on their way toward achieving the Movement’s aspirations.

Martin Luther King Jr. and others’ egalitarian ambitions were firmly rooted in a prescient desire to ensure equal access for Black children to America’s education system.

When Emancipation occurred in 1865, nearly 4 million illiterate men, women, and children had to be nurtured, cared for, and educated. Among Blacks, the task was taken on through a more collective approach. Well educated Black men and women answered the call and courageously migrated from the North to the South to uplift their people1.

They understood that educating the nation’s population of newly freed slaves would take more than just teaching them to read and write. For more than 150 years, Black children have been participants in the American educational system. However, the shocking disparities of their socio-economic standing in comparison to White children could leave one speechless. Today, those disparities encapsulated in a history of persistent institutional inequities have become even more apparent with the intensive impact of the COVID-19 Pandemic and its disproportionate effect on the Black community.

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