Participants in the Call Me MISTER program led an on-line book-read and discussion focusing on Race in American Education in February 2021. The virtual event featured a discussion based upon excerpted passages from Scholarship Boy, a 2020 memoir by Larry I. Palmer. Mr. Palmer also participated in the event, which drew virtual attendees from the Longwood community and from school divisions throughout Virginia. In the book, Palmer traces his educational path from his elementary years in segregated St. Louis to Harvard and Yale for his undergraduate and law degrees, a path made possible by a scholarship he received to attend Phillips Exeter Academy in New Hampshire in 1958.
Palmer, a retired Professor of Law at Cornell University and the College of William & Mary and a current member of Longwood’s Board of Visitors, had engaged the young men in Call Me MISTER (CMM) on previous occasions, having been a featured speaker in their 2020 Summer Institute. In the February 15th event, the MISTERS read passages from Palmer’s book and posed questions relating to the impacts of teachers in the development of racial identity for minority males and how he experienced W.E.B. DuBois’ ideas of a “double consciousness” as a minority male attending predominantly white institutions for much of his schooling. The discussion provided a connection between the historical reflections framed in the book with the contemporary education of young men of color in America.
The event was part of a spring 2021 campaign to raise money for a scholarship fund to provide additional financial support for young men involved in the CMM program.