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Presentation of Freeman Hrabowski in NCHC

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We grew up in a little country town below Southern Alabama ... But my mother told me a story that embarrassed me as a child, and yet I now tell that story over and over again. She said that beginning at age 12, she had a choice of working in a hot cottonfield outside or working in a lonely home, as a child maid. And she wanted to see how well the whites lived. And she said that what was so surprising to her was that there were books everywhere and that people would read aloud.In our own house, a wonderfull book , the bible, but that was it and there was no library for children of color at that time. And the woman was kind to my mother and said, Maggy , when you finish your work, you can go to the library and read, and mother would do just that. and the woman could tell that mother was fascinated by these books and so she said when you finish your work you can read and then you can actually take your book home and bring it back when you've finished and all of the sudden mother took the book home from time to time and would be reading and her girlfriends would want her to stop reading to come outside and play and they were shocked and then very bothered that she would say 'no I wanna keep reading' and all of the sudden she began to see a growing difference between herself and her girlfriends and here was the difference. Mother said the more she red the better a reader she became and the more proficient a reader she became the more she enjoyed the experience and besides, she said, reading aloud can get you off the poor little girl and dream about the possibilities and as a result, she began to observe her girlfriends when they read which was only when they had to and there would be a frown on their faces they were reading with their lips and she could tell they didn't read well. It was at that point that she knew exactly what she wanted to do for the rest of her life to become a teacher. And she became a teacher of English Amazingly all of my life my mother punished me using characters from books. So when I will get a little arrogant she would call me 'Raskalnikov' from Dostoyevsky's 'Crime and punishment'. And when I got a little inflatered she called me 'mr. Bledsoe' from from Ralph Ellison's 'Invisible man'. And my friends would come in and my mother would be calling me by these names and I could know what she was saying because we've red these books in my home, but I was so embarassed because the others kids would say 'I am glad she is not my mother, I don't know where she is talking about' It never occurred to me that I was so fortunate to have parents who red books

Video Details

Duration: 3 minutes and 8 seconds
Country: United States
Language: English
Genre: None
Producer: Joke Oosterhuis
Views: 134
Posted by: jokeoosterhuis on Jan 31, 2011

Anecdote with which Freeman started his opening speech at the conference on excellence and higher education. It's about his mother and the love for reading and learning.

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