HAATz Off to Pioneer Teachers of MPS Column:
By Vicki Singh
Collectively, the Historical African American Teachers (HAAT) has decided to continue to offer scholarships to working moms, art groups of color, future teachers in the sciences and students of theatre & the building trades. Two great scholarships are planned for foreign students, studying on the Junior College or University levels. Kenneth Williams, retired MPS teacher from Bradley Tech is spearheading this campaign.
A sum total of (14) scholarships are on the table for dispersal, after HAAT’s salute to teachers, artistic directors and “It Takes a Village” Civic Leadership recipients, aka the “Challenge Awards”- plans to launch a Website during the week of “National Teachers Appreciation Week” of May 1-8 is underway. This will be full circle, since HAAT had its first “open house” during that week, in 2010. The website will feature stream videos, photos, updates on 140 plus celebrants from all 12 luncheons.
HAAT will plan to use the summer to prepare a documentary for PBS and to complete an anthology on all of its pioneers that were recognized over the past 12 months. This anthology and documentary online will be available to Black History buffs, all over the world. HAAT has a “back story and a front story” which all need to see, exactly the African American contributions to Wisconsin. In addition, its goals are to continue to champion public school education throughout the State of Wisconsin.
As public education is being attacked in 2011, HAAT wants to celebrate the history of public school education; their founding educators and their institutions from La Crosse to Green Bay, from Racine to Beloit, and from Prairie Du Chien to all points east.
Future plans include the desire to establish the first “Teachers Park” in Wisconsin which chronicles the rich historythat all public school teachers have provided Wisconsin students for over 100 years. There is a Veterans Park and even an Immigrants’ Park in Milwaukee but no Teacher’s Park. Many may not be aware that Wisconsin was a leader in educating the immigrant child and the child who was unable to attend private schools do to lack of financial resources.
Before there was the “Black poor“, there was also the White poor, who received quality education, at the hands of teachers dating back to the 19th century. A museum or a pavilion or a community center located somewhere in Wisconsin, is an idea that has now reached the collective “psyche”. We at HAAT, envision yellow buses, pulling up to a pavilion and students running to a computer, inside our study center and clicking on their respective town, village, rural community or big city and learning about those who educated the masses, before we came under attack. Public school educators must acknowledge their own contributions before it’s too late.
We at HAAT, are not against Choice and Charter Schools, nor are we against privately held institutions of learning. We just feel it is time to re-address our long standing history of Public School Education, before we forget those words “we the people”!
We welcome educators around the State of Wisconsin, who think as we do, to write us with their suggestions. We must remain steadfast in our efforts, to secure the legacy, of our history as educators. We educated the public and we served and are serving them well.
The following individuals are working with HAAT on its goals and future plans: Lead Archivist: Taki S. Raton, Teachers Park Committee, Acting Chair: Vicki Singh, John Hicks, Wanda Richards- Miller, Gertrude Payton, Ethel Brunner, Addie Williams, Bill Jackson, Arlene Skwierawski, Liz Sims, Martha Carter, Robert (Bob) Harris & Leon Todd.
Contact HAAT of MPS, 1840 North Farwell (405), Milwaukee, WI 53202 or call (414) 551-2107.