My Tour Through The Asylum (eBook)
A Southern Integrationist'S Memoir
de William E. Dufford
Sobre o livro
Immortalized in the writings of his most famous student, best-selling author Pat Conroy, veteran education administrator William E. Dufford has led an inspirational life as a stalwart champion for social justice and equal access for all to the empowerment of a good public education. A quintessential Southern storyteller now in his nineties, Dufford reflects on his own transformation through education, from his upbringing in the segregationist Jim Crow EraSouth of the 1930s and 1940s to becoming an accomplished integrationist revered by his pantheon of former colleagues and students. Those include Conroy, artist and MacArthur Fellowship recipient Daisy Youngblood, civil rights attorney Carl Epps, U.S. District Judge Richard M. Gergel, former U.S. secretary of education Richard W. Riley, historian and educator Alexia Helsley, University of South Carolina Benjamin E. Mays Distinguished Professor Emeritus Johnny McFadden, and many others. In My Tour through the Asylum, several of these supporters share their own candid recollections of Dufford alongside his life story, adding context and anecdotes to the narrative.Duffords efforts in Sumter in the late 1960s garnered national attention, including coverage in the New York Times and the opportunity to take a delegation of his black and white students to Alabama to model successful practices in integration. Dufford credits the evolution of his mindset from segregationist to integrationist to the good influence of two experiences: his service in the U.S. Navy in the 1940s opening his eyes to a larger worldview and his later doctoral training at the University of Florida under nationally recognized professors introducing him to global perspectives of education.In collaboration with writers Aïda Rogers and Sallie McInerney, Dufford recounts the possibilities that unfold when people work through their differences toward a common good. His story is also a cautionary tale of how progress can be forestalled or undone by those in power when antiquated policies and politics are placed above humanistic principles of fairness and social justice. Drawing the book title and themes from nineteenth-century statesman James Louis Petigrus infamous assessment that South Carolina was too small to be a republic and too big to be an insane asylum, Dufford offers an insightful, pragmatic, and ultimately hopeful tour through his lived experiences in the courageous, committed service of education and enlightenment.