Monday, April 23, 2007
I had a conversation with a coworker who was reading Amazing Grace this weekend. For awhile in college, I wanted to be Jonathan Kozol when I grew up. Kozol has been a tireless and passionate advocate on poverty and education issues since being fired from a Boston school in the 60’s for teaching a Langston Hughes poem that deviated from the curriculum. Amazing Grace features the neighborhood of Mott Haven in the South Bronx, one of the poorest neighborhoods in the country. Drugs, childhood asthma, and AIDS are prevalent and jobs and fathers are scarce. Through conversations with the people of this neighborhood, Kozol shows the grace and humanity that remains in a community where so much seems lost. Kozol may not be good at offering solutions, but he does pose important questions about what and who we value as a society.