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September 24, 2024
9781985900684
English
192
13 b&w illustrations
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$60.00 USD, £54.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
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September 24, 2024
9781985900714
9781985900684
English
192
13 b&w illustrations
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$30.00 USD, £27.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Paperback / softback
September 24, 2024
9781985900691
English
192
13 b&w illustrations
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$30.00 USD, £27.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference
Electronic book text
September 24, 2024
9781985900707
9781985900684
English
192
13 b&w illustrations
8.50 Inches (US)
5.50 Inches (US)
$60.00 USD, £54.00 GBP
v2.1 Reference

Lessons from the Foothills

Berea College and Its Unique Role in America

On Christmas Eve in 1859, sixty-five prominent armed white men rode into the small Kentucky town of Berea and forced the townspeople to close its integrated one-room schoolhouse. The mob perceived the school as a threat to white supremacy and the racial order. Abolitionist John Gregg Fee established the school for the expressed purpose of providing education to anyone eager to learn, regardless of their race—a notion that horrified those convinced of the sanctity of white supremacy. The mob succeeded in evicting thirty-six community members, including Fee's family, but Fee and the others returned to Berea in 1864 and reestablished the school as Berea College—an institution committed to providing education to Appalachia's most vulnerable populations.

In Lessons from the Foothills, Gretchen Dykstra profiles modern Berea College, considered the moral compass of the commonwealth, and its rich and beloved history. This book is the first to focus solely on the principles and practices that guide the college: the eight Great Commitments, which individually and holistically provide clear aspirations for the college and its community. Like the institution itself, Dykstra's portrait is structured around these principles; each chapter functions as a deep dive into the history, practice, and significance of each Great Commitment, from providing opportunity for the most marginalized, to its high academic standards, to its commitment to the entire region.

One of the Great Commitments states that the college will "provide an educational opportunity for students of all races, primarily from Appalachia, who have great promise and limited economic resources." The college has fulfilled this commitment by eliminating tuition—one of the primary barriers between people living below the poverty line and a college education—and providing jobs for students to assist with living expenses.

Including interviews with a range of members from the Berea community, alumni, students, faculty, and staff, Lessons from the Foothills is an engaging and illuminating profile of a unique and historic institution and its enduring commitment to nurture and support academic excellence and service among its students.

About the Author

Gretchen Dykstra, author of Echoes from Wuhan: The Past as Prologue and Civic Pioneers: Local Stories from a Changing America, 1895–1915, has written articles for several media outlets, including the New York Times and Huffington Post.

Reviews

"Dykstra takes a deep dive into Berea's institutional culture and enduring commitment to democratic values. In so doing, she demonstrates how the college's distinct approach to liberal arts education has nurtured generations of low-income and minority students to respect tradition, diversity, and the dignity of work while living a life committed to social justice and civic responsibility. This small college in the foothills of Appalachia has long served as a model for progressive leadership in higher education in America. It is indeed a very good read about a remarkable institution."—Ronald D. Eller, author of Uneven Ground: Appalachia Since 1945

"From its initial impetus to create a collegiate environment dedicated to racial coeducation to its focus today on equality and environmental sustainability, Berea College has long been a force for positive change in the Appalachian region. Gretchen Dykstra has written a significant and appreciative study of how Berea College has excelled in realizing the values to which it is committed. Admirers of Berea College and readers interested more generally in the impact of higher education in Appalachia must not miss the opportunity to read this important book."—Dwight B. Billings, University of Kentucky Professor Emeritus of Sociology & Distinguished Professor of Arts and Sciences

"With the keen eye of a gifted story-teller, Gretchen Dykstra weaves a rich tapestry thatsheds light on a question asked by every admirer of Berea College: How does this smallinstitution, nestled deep in Appalachia, outpace virtually every other American collegeon every metric that matters? The story of Berea, beautifully documented in thisengaging book, reflects Berea's deep commitments to racial equality, communityempowerment and the transformative potential of education. The remarkable successof the Berea idea is more than simply inspirational. The Berea story also poses a radicalchallenge to the country's educational establishment: work harder to open wide the door to opportunity."—Jeremy Travis, President Emeritus, John Jay College of Criminal Justice

"Berea College has been disrupting the norms of higher education ever since its inception asan interracial school in a slave state before the start of the Civil War. Gretchen Dykstra offersa history of this small, liberal arts college in the Appalachian foothills. Just as important, sheartfully describes how the college is continuing to build on its commitment to "impartial love" to address the needs of the current study body."—Tim Marema (Berea, 1985) Editor, The Daily Yonder

"Berea College is a tonic and provides a fine education, tuition-free, to a richly diverse student body, made up entirely of low-income students. To read how Berea came about, and how well and in how many ways it continues to serve, is to see that a kinder, fairer, more responsible society is not as unreachable as it seems. If society paid heed, and turned its resources in the directions Berea does, think what we might accomplish. Reading this book makes you want to. A richly reported, wonderfully written paean to a great American institution."—Geneva Overholser, former editor of The Des Moines Register, columnist at the New York Times and The Washington Post, and former director of USC Annenberg School of Journalism

"There is a small but venerable college nestled in the Appalachians where students are offered a rich curriculum taught by excellent teachers. No tuition is charged, though the students are expected to help with the upkeep. The average annual income of student families is $27,000. Half the students are white and half are Black or Latino. Most of them are the first in their families to go beyond high school. This against-all-odds institution is Berea College, and Gretchen Dykstra does a masterful job of telling its story."—Conn Nugent, Chairman Emeritus, The Land Institute

"Dykstra captures the significant and unique role of Berea College in American higher education. Since the nineteenth century, more than any other institution, this college has been a national model of excellence in educating low-income students. For years, Berea was known to be the higher education institution in the South that had the moral courage to openly promote integration between the races. Students get to know each other, come to appreciate the dignity of work, and study the liberal arts as they prepare to lead and serve in the larger society. The reader will be amazed by the inspiring stories of the Berea educators, students, and alumni who continue to havea substantial impact on Appalachia and beyond. Berea has been a college whose vision was farmore than a century ahead of its time."—Freeman A. Hrabowski, III, president emeritus, UMBC: An Honors University in Maryland

Hardback
September 24, 2024
$60.00 USD
Electronic book text
September 24, 2024
$30.00 USD
Paperback / softback
September 24, 2024
$30.00 USD
Electronic book text
September 24, 2024
$60.00 USD

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