Onaje X. O. Woodbine, a religious studies teacher at Phillips Academy (MA) and author of Black Gods of the Asphalt offered a thought-provoking conversation about race, education, and athletics during his day-long visit to the Upper School in January. He addressed the entire US during assembly, had lunch with students, visited classes, and addressed the community in a special evening event that included a book signing.
A former streetball player who became an all-star Ivy League basketball player at Yale, Dr. Woodbine decided to leave the team in his sophomore year to focus on his studies. He then received a racist letter from his coaches suggesting that he was only at Yale to "entertain the Yale community," not because of his intellect and academic prowess.
Dr. Woodbine presents athletics as a way of storytelling about a school and its values, and his message to bring "the mind and body together more consciously in these spaces, so that athletes are not isolated from the rest of campus." Here is Dr. Woodbine's presentation to students.
A group of students joined Dr. Woodbine for lunch after the assembly to continue the conversation. The visit was sponsored by the Office of Community, Inclusion, and Equity.