Table of Contents

    Cover Story
  • Free The Problems with the Common Core

    By Stan Karp

    The rollout of the Common Core has seemed more like a marketing campaign than an educational plan. A look at the funders, origins, and uses of the new standards shows why the pushback is building.

  • Free La problemática de los Estándares Comunes Estatales

    Por Stan Karp | Traducido por Nicholas Yurchenco, Andreina Velasco

    La introducción de los Estándares Comunes se ha parecido más a una campaña publicitaria que a un plan educativo. Un análisis de los fondos, orígenes y usos de los nuevos estándares demuestra por qué la resistencia en contra de ellos está creciendo.

  • Free Martin Luther King Jr. and the Common Core

    A critical reading of close reading

    By Daniel E. Ferguson

    The chief architect of the Common Core created a model lesson of a close reading of King's “Letter from Birmingham Jail.” A teacher from Birmingham compares that to King's own critical reading of the “word” and the “world.”

  • Features
  • Free Trayvon Martin and My Students

    Writing toward justice

    By Linda Christensen

    President Obama's speech about the Zimmerman acquittal in Trayvon Martin's murder—and Cornel West's response—are rich sources for students learning how to analyze, evaluate, and critique.

  • Free Sex Talk on the Carpet

    Incorporating gender and sexuality into 5th-grade curriculum

    By Valdine Ciwko

    Instead of leaving “the puberty talk” to the nurse, an elementary teacher incorporates age-appropriate discussion into her regular classroom routine.

  • Free Hablar de sexo en el salón de clases

    Incorporar el género y la sexualidad en el currículo de 5to Grado

    Por Valdine Ciwko | Traducido por César Peña-Sandoval

    En lugar de dejarle “la charla” sobre la pubertad a la enfermera de la escuela, una maestra de primaria incorpora a las rutinas de la clase discusiones adecuadas para la edad de sus alumnos.

  • Looking for Justice at Turkey Creek

    Out of the classroom and into the past

    By Hardy Thames

    High school students embed themselves in a community's history and people when they study the impact of “development” on historically African American Turkey Creek in Gulfport, Mississippi.

  • Greed as a Weapon

    Teaching the other war in Iraq

    By Adam Sanchez

    A high school teacher uses a role-play to explore the economic dimensions of the war in Iraq.

  • Departments Free
  • Connecting the Dots

    By The Editors of Rethinking Schools
  • Good Stuff
  • Awareness of the Natural World

    By Herbert Kohl
  • Resources
  • Our picks for books, videos, websites, and other social justice education resources.

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Looking for Justice at Turkey Creek

Out of the classroom and into the past
Looking for Justice at Turkey Creek

As a freshwater paddler who had recently moved from Memphis to the Mississippi coast, I first encountered Turkey Creek and Mr. Flowers White from my canoe. White was clearly having more luck with his cane pole than my boys and I were with our spinning reels. He taught us some insider's tricks and then invited us back to his home for fried crappie. As he shared his fish and the recipe for a mean fry batter, he also shared stories about himself and his community. This was my introduction to the rich history that my students at Gulfport High School and I would later explore.

White can trace his family history back to the founding of Turkey Creek in 1866. A group of freed slaves bought 320 acres of “swampland” north of what would later become Gulfport. They created a self-sufficient and socially isolated community of farms, residences, businesses, a church, and a school that flourished for more than a century. Then, beginning in the 1980s, Gulfport's growth nearly led to Turkey Creek's demise.

Gambling was legalized in our area in 1992. With the inrush of casino money, Gulfport became Mississippi's fastest growing city. City planners sought to annex only the affluent areas north of town, which would have created a dumbbell-shaped city. When a judge ruled against this plan, Turkey Creek was included in the annexation. Gulfport's planners then proceeded to make decisions with weighty implications for the fate of this low-income black community without including its members at the table. Acres of wetlands in the Turkey Creek watershed were filled in and new zoning laws passed to allow Walmart, Family Dollar, and other commercial buildings to go up along the section of Highway 49 (Gulfport's north-south corridor) that intersects Turkey Creek. As a result, the Turkey Creek community has shrunk precipitously and is now surrounded by an airport, concrete and electrical companies, and a strip mall business district.

According to Ella Holmes-Hines, Turkey Creek resident and longtime city councilwoman, the community has been “under attack” ever since its incorporation at the expense of Gulfport's growth. The environmental and political repercussions for Turkey Creek have been profound.

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