Dr. Floyd Rose, president of the 100 Black Men of Madison, joins Superintendent Jenkins to talk about the impact of the African American History Bowl on students, families, and the community. They also discuss the importance of history, and recent decisions by the College Board.
00:11: Student Speaker: From the Madison Metropolitan School District, this is Lead to Liberate, a podcast documenting stories of inspiration, growth, and empowerment across our schools.
00:27: Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins: Wow, I just love that music. Welcome back again. I am Dr. Carlton D. Jenkins. The very proud superintendent of Madison Metropolitan School District. And here we are, on Lead to Liberate. And today, once again, thanks for joining us. We have a very special guest from our community. Not a stranger to anyone. He continues to pour into our community, pour into our scholars, just pour into our school system and the broader community. Today, we have none other than Dr. Floyd Rose. How are you doing Dr. Rose?
00:59: Dr. Floyd Rose: I, I'm blushing but nobody would know it. [Laughter] Thank you so much for this wonderful introduction and this opportunity to chat with you.
01:09: Dr. Jenkins: Well, Dr. Rose, you've done so much. It's kind of hard not to talk about just a few of the things that you've done in our community. And you've been around for a while now. Helping so many – not only just students, but adults – and providing mentorship. But this particular segment that we’re having you in, we want you to kind of share that with the community, and how this really helps all of us in terms of knowing African American history. And as I believe this is the oldest run academic challenge of this sort, in the state. Can you tell us a little bit about it?I believe, oh, approximately: : Dr. Rose: So, for our:
05:19: Dr. Jenkins: Well, I tell you, that's quite awesome. And you're talking about the 30th year of having an event like this. This is amazing. And where you started, right here at Doyle, at the Doyle Building in Madison Metropolitan School District. Last year, being at the event and just seeing the diversity, and listening to you now talking about Verona, Middleton Cross Plains, Sun Prairie also joining in this wonderful academic challenge. What about the growth? What have you seen? And why is it so important to have this spread out like this?
05:55: Dr. Rose: Well, the one thing that was essential when we started out was, we did not do this for the purpose of fostering a constricted knowledge to certain students. This was a broad-based activity. We've always include, included, children of other races, of other, of all genders. It wasn't about anything other than appreciation for a segment of individuals who have done phenomenal things. And that there was not the kind of acknowledgement or back to learning exposure. We believe that a child who is not African American can benefit as much from this exposure as one who is. Because it's all about what someone did. And we don't want children to think that only this group can do this, or that group can do something. Everybody can contribute. Everybody has the same value. Everybody has the same worth. And the way to do that is to teach it [mmhmm], you know. And say, Well, you know, there's so much out here right now they, the kids get access to the internet, and they can access this, then they have all this, and all that great stuff. And so they don't really need a lot of directed exposure. I would argue, from the students we've worked with over the years, we found many students that have never been outside the City of Madison, and in many cases had parents who had never been out outside the City of Madison. I'll give you a snippet.
07:47: Dr. Rose: A few years ago, there was a young lady who was a member of a team that became our regional champion. And the competition was in Florida. Mother approached us, and said I need a special chaperone. And we said well, we always have a chaperone. We have, we have many, many individuals who work with us that are professional social workers, doctors, lawyers, you name it. We have already a set of chaperones that I think that you will find to be very acceptable.
“Well, my daughter, she's never been outside of Madison. And I, and in order for me to say yes, I want somebody that she knows.” I said Who was that? She said, Well, there's a school counselor that we would like you to consider. Now understand what we do is we pay for the airfare, we pay for the lodging, we pay for the meals, the whole nine yards. Nothing, the contestants pay nothing. It’s our privilege in order to provide this to them. So we looked around and sold a few pop bottles and got a little extra money. [Mmhmm] And we hired the counselor to come out and be the, the eyes and ears and conscious of her mom. And so everything worked out. And I walked by her, while she was out there and she was just staring out the window. And this is a beautiful hotel facility, with windows that are two stories high, and you can just look out and see everything you want to see. It is on a beach and just beautiful. And I just saw her staring and just staring and staring, and I said, I think, and I was gonna go over there, tap her on her shoulder and say what are you doing? But I didn't want to. She was into something I didn't want to, want to break that. So after the contest, and after we returned home, I went over to somebody that, that knew this young lady. I said, you know, I saw - I’m going to call her Gracie, that's not her name, but we'll call her Gracie. I saw Gracie staring out the window. And she was just mesmerized, is was, it was just mind blowing how she was just so focused. And I thought I knew what she was doing. But I didn't want to say anything. And she she said what you think she was doing? She was verifying that there really was an Atlantic Ocean. [Mmm] And the lady, the person I spoke with started smiling. She said, that's exactly what she was doing. Because the first thing she said was mom, to her mom, as she was around, I saw the Atlantic Ocean. [Wow.]
11:02: Dr. Rose: That's a sidebar. But that's the, back to exposure, just in what is being put forth, to the children. Where they can also understand and discern the different authors have different views of things. So that they understand that everything is not always the way it is. But you need to investigate so you can make a determination of what is and what is not. Critical reading skills we think is essentially a part of the game. We got into this, though not about history. We got into this for self concept. We wanted folks to understand, that look like the people that they're reading about, that they have a heritage that is equal to everyone. And for those children that didn't look like the people that they were reading, we wanted them to be respectful of a heritage of people that did amazing things. Not always with the most money, or anything else other than courage, integrity, and drive.
12:16: Dr. Jenkins: Wow, well, I'll tell you, Dr. Rose, that leads right into the next question because here on Lead to Liberate, we talk about it. The things that people whispering about, we talk about it. Right now the College Board's in a deep, deep battle with several individuals, in particular the State of Florida. And talking about African American history and the contributions being taken away from the school systems. And at the National Superintendent's Conference, this was a piece of conversation that all of us were talking about. How do we share the contributions? Why we should be sharing the contributions? And it was pretty much a consensus out there. We need to bring in, in America's history, all history. All the contributions being made. And now saying that you all had the foresight, 30 years ago, starting off talking about individuals who made contributions, and it wasn't just intended for African American students. How do you see that correlating today, just this whole academic challenge about African American history to where we are today in the schools? And do you see the benefits of spreading that out? Not just in your competitions, but other, lifting the contributions of others to America?
13:29: Dr. Rose: I think that [scoffs] I'm going to date myself. And there used to be entertainer James Brown. And while James was performing, James had a statement where you say give the drummer some, which meant that that that let him in, get let's give him some, some accolades and what have you. And we kind of look at this the same way. We should be comprehensive enough to let everyone, everyone have exposure to all histories, not one history, but all histories. And I think it would be pretty easy to just relegate that, to many situations of that history occurring within the confines of American history. [Mmmm] I think it's a matter of dealing with more, rather than dealing with less. It's there. I think that native populations, there should be a place for their history to be understood. For Jewish Americans, Chinese Americans, those of different religions, why do we constrict it to just one or one snapshot? Because I… and just me, but I think it's such a rich learning opportunity that we missed a ball, by, by not broadening it rather than to constrict it.
15:14: Dr. Jenkins: Wow, quite the statement. And as we're continuing to move and MMSD, you know, our whole goal is to continue to be anti-racist. And we're just being explicit. And we're trying to include everyone. So individuals who identify differently, however they identify, choose to identify. When we say all, we mean all. So just hearing the fact that today we're talking about, just from racial perspective, but there's gender perspective, there's political perspective. We always say we educate all children. And we want to make sure we keep that at the forefront of our work. So it's very appreciative to have someone like you to stay in a fight, making sure that we’re lifting up a particular group, but not just to that group, but to everyone else, because all contributions are important in our society. Right here, in close proximity, we actually have the first African American mayor. Can you tell me a little bit about that? That's my, my challenge for you. Do you know who that person is, first of all?person is, who was elected in:
16:14: Dr. Jenkins: First African American mayor, meaning like male or female?
16:45: Dr. Rose: At that time, and recently, you have that with the gentleman in Milwaukee. But at that time, the first African American, unless I got it wrong, but I don't think, and that is Francis Huntley Cooper, who was an amazing off-the-chart warrior to do good for everybody. Not somebody, I mean, everybody. And for someone to have the wherewithal to step out and do something that no one did. No one did. That's, that's, that's amazing. Let's think about that. I mean, I don't know too many people who have, that have done something that no one has done. [Wow] But, I know a lot of people but I don't know too many that have done something that no one has done. And do it in a broad way, and be of such desire to focus on service rather than recognition. [Wow.] Not…Talk about a role model…She should have her own book.is something that happened in:
19:08: Dr. Jenkins: Well, I tell you, just having you here today, and talking about not doing an African American History Quiz Bowl, because we're much deeper than that. Right? We talk about the academic challenge and the contributions that's been made. And I appreciate you showing up here because everybody in town knows the 100 Black Men are so busy, and you are the leader of that. Thank you for all of your countless contributions you continue to make to not only our city but to our entire region.
19:42: Dr. Rose: Well, thank you, but I must express that I'm just a cog on a much bigger wheel. And the membership of the 100 Black Men of Madison supersedes any one person and just an extraordinary group of people. So we've been blessed.
20:00: Dr. Jenkins: Well, thank you so much for being here. Hey, once again, thanks, everybody, our audience out there for joining in to Lead to Liberate. And we look forward to seeing you next week as we will have another fantastic guest. Thank you so much.
20:13: Student Speaker: You're listening to lead to liberate a podcast by the Madison Metropolitan School District demonstrating how the more we know the more we grow