Background on the Theme

For additional background on the IARSLCE conference theme, Connected Knowing, read our first post from KerryAnn O'Meara, the 2012 conference program chair

Tuesday, September 4, 2012

Harold McDougall, Howard University School of Law

Professor McDougall will be giving a keynote address at the 2012 IARSLCE Conference

"The cause of social justice needs people and organizations trained in the “science of social change,” said. Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. He knew many people who had “found intellectual growth and spiritual fulfillment” on this path. It provided the opportunity to be part of a campaign, to meet people who were about something, as well as to advance through these kinds of contacts, that lifted so many of us.

Today, we need a great social movement to reclaim our youth-- youth marginalized by poverty and prejudice, youth marginalized by militarism and commercialism, youth marginalized by selfishness and greed. We can do this in our schools, between our schools, outside of and alongside our schools, building a New American Community, with our children, using an approach I call the Invisible College.

The Invisible College is a collection of teachers, students, writers, storytellers, scribes, artists, and community organizers interfacing with the community at large, networking, helping people tell their stories to each other as well as to leadership types, building and rebuilding civic infrastructure. The Invisible College is a living network that educates and empowers, supports and develops. It is not weighed down by bureaucracy; it’s alive, organic, and moves quickly.

University students mentor high school students, who in turn mentor younger students, encouraging all to read, write, speak, interview, and perform some public service, possibly interning with a civic organization, bringing youth to such groups.

The students collect stories of community and people, go-to people and networkers as well as established leaders, learning how narrative relates one community to another, becoming lifelong learners through a process we call “learning how to learn from experience.”

“Learning how to learn from experience” is at the heart of connected knowing, in my view. I will try to establish those connections in my remarks to the conference on Sunday, September 23, discussing my own sojourn in the Invisible College and how that helped me produce the book, Black Baltimore: A New Theory of Community.