Bringing our history to light can improve our students’ futures

Dorothy S. Bass


In November 2021, the Institute for Schooling Innovation (IEI) held its Slide Superintendent Summit at The Greenbrier in White Sulphur Springs, W.V.–one of the most amazing resorts in the U.S.

But as with lots of of the nation’s iconic landmarks, from The White Dwelling to Harvard University, the legacy of The Greenbrier is specifically tied to the biggest stain on our nation’s legacy: the enslavement of Black people. Throughout the Summit, we invited Toni Ogden and Janice Cooley of the Greenbrier County Historic Modern society to deliver a historical context of our environment.

The first vacation resort was created in 1858 mainly by enslaved people today, and as late as 1910, when the Chesapeake & Ohio Railway obtained the property, the corporation ongoing to exploit Black employees. African American personnel users have been expected to cater to the whims of white guests in the style of the outdated plantations ahead of returning residence to too much to handle poverty.

While The Greenbrier goes out of its way to welcome all visitors these days, that history nevertheless silently lingers during the grounds, impacting some a lot more than other people based mostly on their identity and lived encounters. An illustration of the hotel’s legacy could be spotted in the sports activities bar wherever quite a few portraits of star athletes lined the walls—all of whom had been white. It is probably the only athletics bar outdoors of Boston that has a image of Larry Fowl, but no photograph of Magic. 

A number of meeting attendees of shade, myself bundled, expressed an unease any time we ventured outside the house our tightknit group. White attendees, like Doug, my co-facilitator and co-creator, may not have been on the obtaining close of the cautious gazes of other resort patrons, but they observed the phenomenon, which became a subject of discussion amongst the IEI community—both in phrases of the weekend and in our everyday life as educators.

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