The first CIE Night of the school year was held on September 22. Joe Valentine-White, who is serving as Interim Director of Community, Inclusion, and Equity, told the audience in Centennial Hall filled with parents, faculty, and staff, “I hope when we have conversations like this, it’s a starting point and not an ending point.”
Valentine-White introduced the guest speaker, professor and author Lawrence Jackson, who spoke with passion and deep understanding on themes of slavery and residential segregation and on his own personal story through the lens of his upbringing and return to Baltimore.
Lawrence shared short excerpts and drawings from each chapter of his book, “Shelter: A Black Tale of Homeland, Baltimore,” followed by a thought-provoking Q&A.
Eighth grader Emanuel J. attended the event. “It was empowering but I also felt like I belonged,” he said. “I was told the talk might fly over my head and that Professor Jackson wasn’t going to be discussing topics for children. But I thought what he talked about were things that children should learn.”
Emanuel went on: “That experience — just sitting there and absorbing what he had to say — really helped me learn.” He thinks Jackson is a great role model for him. “When I was listening and contemplating after the talk, I thought I saw a little bit of myself and also other people I know in his story.”
Gilman’s Upper School library has a copy of Jackson's book “Shelter” and also his most recent book “Hold It Real Still: Clint Eastwood, Race, and the Cinema of the American West.”