"These kids are going to destroy a lot of old myths about education. Their potential has been grossly underestimated. They have the ability to change the world." -Dr. Edward Carpenter, Fall 1967, upon Harlem Prep's opening
I love that quote -- and so many others -- from "Carp," about the incredible potential of students: of each of you. Since my last update in late July, I have been hard at work (to the best of my abilities, that is!) beginning the process of telling this remarkable story of Harlem Prep... telling your remarkable story. As you all know, I have spent the past many years researching about Harlem Prep, trying to find everything I can about the school and the beautiful people who attended and made it all possible -- to really get at the essence of Harlem Prep. Finally, after researching, and researching... and then researching some more, it is time to write. Almost 600 "primary documents" (i.e., letters, memo, grants, budgets, etc.), 220 newspaper articles, and almost two dozen oral histories later, I have finally "hunkered down" in my office writing this story, sentence by sentence, page by page. (A continued thank you to each of you who have helped me in this research over the years and welcomed me into the Harlem Prep family!)
How do I document this story? How do I tell it in its entirety? How do I capture the Harlem Prep magic, in writing? The fact that it is, of course, such a special story and one that I have come to love so deeply as if it was my own, makes it all the more challenging, to say the least! Yet, I remain so humbled that I have been given the opportunity to tell it; I am beyond thankful for that every day and will put my heart and soul into every word. It's equally exciting and nerve-wracking to (finally) put "pen to paper," so to speak, and just grateful for each of you who have helped me get to this point.
In the many months ahead, I will make sure to give some updates of how the process is going and continue to share documents and pictures from my collection. Today, however, and as I've long promised, here is a very rough outline of my dissertation -- my best take at sharing the story of Harlem Prep with the world.
I look forward to comments and suggestions, as always. I may be out of sight, but I am not out of mind -- each day is another day that I am writing about Harlem Prep! (Please also free to contact me privately -- via phone or e-mail -- if you want to learn more about what I am writing on any day, and I would love to chat!)
Wishing everyone the best until we speak again.