Black History Month Assembly Follow-Up Activity
“You Can’t Padlock the Ideas”: The Highlander Folk School
A pivotal episode in Rosa Parks’ life was her two-week stay at the Highlander Folk School in Monteagle, Tennessee. While the school initially focused on justice for workers in the South, racial segregation became the pervading issue for the school for several decades beginning in the early 1940s.
Many civil rights activists passed through Highlander’s grounds, including Rosa Parks, Martin Luther King, Jr. and Stokely Carmichael.
Mrs. Parks attended Highlander only months before she stood up to segregation on a Montgomery bus in December 1955. It was at Highlander where she learned about nonviolent protest and the teachings of Indian nationalist leader Mahatma Gandhi.
Now located in New Market, Tenn., the school is still training activists from all over the world, but their current focus is on poverty in Appalachia.
- Click here to view a short video about the Highlander Folk School.
- Click here to read a brief tribute to Rosa Parks and to learn more about her connection to the Highlander Folk School.
- If you could attend a school like the Highlander Folk School that would help you fight for an issue that you feel strongly about, what would that issue be? What would you want to learn from such a school? On the index card that was provided by your advisor, respond to these two questions. You don’t need to write a lot: simply name the issue and write a sentence or two about what you’d want to learn. Make the name of your issue as bold as possible; be as creative as you like; use images and color.
- You will have an opportunity to share these issues in advisory and the cards will be displayed in a gallery in the hallway.