Meet Jonathan Kozol discussing Fire in the Ashes: Twenty-Five Years among the Poorest Children in America

UM BankUnited Center Fieldhouse. October 2, 2012. 6:00 p.m.

In the passion of the civil rights campaigns of 1964 and 1965, Jonathan Kozol gave up the prospect of a promising and secure career within the academic world, moved from Harvard Square into a poor black neighborhood of Boston, and became a fourth grade teacher. He has since devoted nearly his entire life to the challenge of providing equal opportunity within our public schools to every child, of whatever racial origin or economic level. He is, at the present time, the most widely read and highly honored education writer in America.

Death at an Early Age, a description of his first year as a teacher, received the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy, and Religion. Among his other major works are Rachel and Her Children, a study of homeless mothers and their children, which received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award for 1989, and Savage Inequalities, which was a finalist for the National Book Critics Circle Award in 1992. His 1995 best-seller, Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation, was featured on the Oprah Winfrey Show and received the Anisfield-Wolf Book Award in 1996, an honor previously granted to the works of Langston Hughes and Dr. Martin Luther King.

Ten years later, in The Shame of the Nation, a powerful exposé of conditions he found in nearly 60 public schools in 30 different districts, Jonathan wrote that inner-city children were more isolated racially than at any time since federal courts began dismantling the landmark ruling in Brown v. Board of Education.

Now, we celebrate the publication of Jonathan’s Fire in the Ashes, the major book of his career, a powerful and stirring culmination of the stories he has told over a quarter-century about the children of the poorest urban neighborhood in the United States.

When he is not with children and teachers in their classrooms, or at universities speaking to our future teachers, Jonathan is likely to be found in Washington, where he has spent much of the past two years attempting to convince his friends within the Senate leadership to free our schools and children from the punitive and unsuccessful federal testing law No Child Left Behind – not simply to “fix” the law, but to abolish it entirely.

Jonathan received a summa cum laude degree in English literature from Harvard in 1958, after which he was awarded a Rhodes scholarship to Oxford University. He has been called “today’s most eloquent spokesman for America’s disenfranchised.” But he believes that children speak most eloquently for themselves; and in his newest book, so full of the vitality of youth, we hear their testimony.

This event is free and open to the public. RSVP at 305.284.5010 or

UM BankUnited Center Fieldhouse
1245 Dauer Drive
Coral Gables, FL 33146

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