Literacy and Liberty

“Backlash and Barriers” How Dickinson’s Co-Educational Movement Sparked Controversy
Posted by: , November 18, 2018, 10:35 pm
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Guiding questions: 

How did the movement towards co-education at Dickinson start? How quickly (or not) did admittance of women grow? 

How did Dickinson members react to gender integration? What resources did people use to voice their frustration/opposition?

What was the justification for co-education at Dickinson? 

What successes did female students achieve during their early years at Dickinson? How did they affect the college? 

What caused Dickinson to fully support co-education after years of opposition? How does gender integration “play out” in today’s context of the college? 


 Integration of women into higher education generated another milestone in the history of Dickinson College. 100 years after its establishment, the college admitted Zatae Longsdorff, the first woman to attend Dickinson (archives website). In the early years of integration, the community recognized the female students but still viewed the males as academically superior.  Following the increased arrival of women to campus, many members of the college refused to accept the rise in diversity. Students, faculty, alumni, and trustees expressed their concerns and frustrations through letters directed to the college’s administration. Nearly 20 years after the initiative, men (and some women) called for Dickinson to re-establish itself as an all-male institution. However, women proved to achieve greater academic success, which drew in defense from administration who supported the co-educational structure of the college. Struggles prevailed over women’s educational equality in the early 20th century, but women continued to contribute to the rich academic and social life of the college. Through various documents of community members, the attitudes and actions against co-education help to reveal their insecurities towards the rising statuses of women. Additionally, the cries of inequality from those who opposed integration fueled a resistance of young-women to achieve an equal education at Dickinson.  




To accept or To tolerate?
Posted by: , November 14, 2018, 3:25 pm
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(note, this is the first poem I’ve written in years)


“I can tolerate those who are different from me” one may say 

Or, “I can accept those who are different from me”. 

When we tolerate, we project the thought of acceptance 

And lose the effect of action. 

When we accept, we project the thought of tolerance 

And add the effect of respect.  

Both tolerance and acceptance are recognized in society 

Yet people fail to differentiate between the two.  


As you tolerate groups you fail to see them as people 

For they are only recognized by their differences. 

As you accept groups you accomplish to see them as people 

For they can be recognized by their differences. 

The two terms are ambiguous 

How do we decide their uses? 


If we promote tolerance 

Then should we tolerate those who refuse to accept? 

If we promote acceptance 

How should we move past tolerance? 

Should we tolerate school shooters? 

Should we accept people who tolerate school shooters? 


Too often, people tolerate crimes against innocent blacks 

Yet, refuse to accept the wrong-doings of the officers. 

Too often, people tolerate mass incarcerations of blacks 

Yet, refuse to accept their innocence.  

In both instances, both tolerance and acceptance 

Are construed to fit the beliefs of the person. 


 Where do we go from here? 

Do we punish those who tolerate? 

Do we punish those who do not accept? 

Or, can we educate on their differences 

And the appropriateness of their uses? 

Or, do we continue to sit in the shadows 

And continue to watch the ignorance of others 

While we refuse to accept our own ignorance 

And fail to educate each other. 











Educational Liberties of American Women
Posted by: , November 6, 2018, 6:10 pm
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In the 21st Century, American society has grown accustomed to the tradition of sending our children to school for an education. As I sit in my college classes, I appreciate my acceptance into college and the opportunity to study at a prestigious school. Likewise, my elementary and high school years featured no self-recognition of my education–attending school was (and had always been) a normal part of my life, along with millions of other American children. As a white- male identifying individual, my privilege of educational access has been present since the founding of the country. While men were attending and establishing the first universities and institutions in America, women were forced to watch the growing knowledge and success develop within their male counterparts. As the 19th Century progressed, a movement towards women’s recognition and equality spurred a nationwide fight for women’s education and higher positions in American society. My investigative research will feature the growing movements towards women’s access to education–specifically in the post-secondary realm.

The goal of the project is to analyze the educational liberties of all women in America, particularly the rise of female, African Americans attendance of newly (at the time) established black institutions. I will be comparing the educational movements between white women and black women because (out of basic assumption), white women most likely did not count black women within their right to attend universities. My research focuses from the post-Civil War era to the suffrage era of the early 20th Century. One dissertation I plan citing is by Linda M. Perkins titled “The African American Female Elite: The Early History of African American Women in the Seven Sister Colleges, 1880-1960”. Perkins discusses the fight for African American women to attend black universities and institutions (one of interest is Hood College where the first predominately black sorority was established in the 1930s). Additionally, I will search for documents about the attitudes of Americans towards women’s education, and how women were slowly able to find their place in post-secondary education and higher careers.

For now, my research is slightly broad–I really want to compare the white and black women’s educational movements to summarize the overall movement in America.



A Simple Token of Gratitude
Posted by: , October 3, 2018, 2:54 pm
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Sometimes the smallest gestures make the make the most impacts. As I strolled through campus, I searched for tall statues, elaborate murals, and designated buildings that were established as war memorials. Eventually, I stumbled into a small plaque erected roughly forty feet adjacent to the Stern Center in a shaded, seating area.

The plaque, which reads “In memory of all those lost in the tragedies of September 11, 2001” lies under a multitude of trees. Even though the plaque projects a simple phrase, its words strike the hearts of Americans who remember the tragic attacks of 2001. As a person who was only two during the event, the plaque still sends chills through me as I reflect on the facts I read about the attacks. The memorial has such a profound effect because its sentiment is straight to the point and powerful. No one has to ponder its meaning because they know of the event and the impact it has on the country.

The memorial described in “Elegy for the Native Guards” honors those who were white-confederate soldiers and not the black soldiers. However, the 9/11 memorial outside of Stern honors every person, no matter race, gender, age, etc., who died from the attacks. Even though the memorial honors the deaths of all victims, many Americans still do not respect and consider the death of Middle-Eastern Americans who were also victims because they are stereotyped as “terrorists”. It is easy to pat ourselves on the back and say we’ve progressed from confederate soldier memorials to current memorials, however, Americans cannot be too flattered because of the consistent disregard for Middle-Eastern citizens who are also victims of terrorist attacks (just like whites and other people of color).

Blog 2- Learning to Read and Write (Jacob DeCarli)
Posted by: , September 19, 2018, 5:54 pm
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Nothing brings back childhood memories more like Sheil Silverstein’s “The Giving Tree”. As I opened the freshly printed book with my mom, the innocent sketches of trees and apples invigorated my three-year-old mind. My desire to understand the meaning behind the illustrations grew, so my mom decided to start teaching me how to read.


Like Frederick Douglass, the first steps towards my literary education involved assembling different letters into words. As a toddler who had minimal experience with reading, a 2 sentenes seemed like climbing Mount Everest. However, my patient mom helped me to sound out each letter to eventually form a word. The first couple of nights were difficult; I stumbled on words and forgot some pronunciations. Needless to say, we did not read the full book for a while. One night, as we sat in my tiny bed, the words and sentences began to flow out of my mouth seamlessly. The mysterious illustrations now had context, and I was finally able to enjoy the story.


My journey to newfound literacy is commonly experienced by children all across America–we become interested in a colorful book, and our parents help us to read it. However, there are many children in the country and in the world who are deprived from such a wonderful milestone. Whether in third world countries, or inner cities, children do not have the financial or educational privileges to become literate and read books. In context of Fredrick Douglass’s narrative, he did not experience the literary journey that his white master’s children experienced. Instead, he had to rely on learning words and sentences from people on the street, and old books from the white children on the plantation. Literacy should be a right, not a privilege because reading is in our everyday lives. However, as time progresses, children still do not have the ability to become literate.



Escaping the Hatred
Posted by: , September 3, 2018, 7:37 pm
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The minds of children possess the ability to become easily influenced by powerful words. As a young Roman-Catholic teenager, my whole perspective on various issues revolved around the authoritative figures of the church and their beliefs. During my last year of Sunday school, the class was required to read a text titled, “Did Adam and Eve Have Belly Buttons? And 199 Other Questions from Catholic Teenagers.” The purpose of the question-answer book is to address certain misconceptions and questions young teenagers have about their transition to adulthood within the Catholic faith. I hesitated to read this book because of my knowledge that the Catholicism preaches more conservative views that are sometimes offensive. The section of the text that personally affected me involved the topic of homosexuality. As a fourteen year old, my sexuality was hidden for fear that people would reject me as a person in society. The Catholic church views homosexuality as a sin, so no surprise surfaced that the book would preach its anti-gay view. However, it was unexpected that the author of the book would write as though gay people lacked the qualities of a human being.  The author, Ken Ham, addressed LGBT community as disgusting, sinful, and possessing no moral code. After reading the humiliating words on the pages, I knew that my involvement within the Catholic Church could not continue if I wanted to live my life freely without persecution. After reading the book of proclaimed hatred, my respect and loyalty for Catholicism quickly faded away.