Jonathan Kozol to deliver convocation address

Jonathan Kozol, who has combined a career in teaching and social activism with more than 30 years of writing about the needs of America’s poorest children, will officially open the 146th academic year at Bates College with the convocation address “Ordinary Resurrections” at 4 p.m. Wednesday, Sept. 6, on the college’s main quadrangle. The public is invited to attend the annual Bertha May Bell Andrews Memorial Lecture in Ethics and Education free of charge. Rain site will be the Clifton Daggett Gray Athletic Building.

Kozol’s first book, “Death at An Early Age” (1967), established him as an angry and eloquent writer on behalf of children. Winner of the 1968 National Book Award in Science, Philosophy and Religion, the book describes Kozol’s experience as a teacher in a segregated fourth-grade classroom in Boston. Kozol continued to teach for the next 20 years, working at South Boston High School during the city’s desegregation crisis, in Arizona with children of farm workers and in Cleveland with illiterate adults.

Kozol published “Rachel and Her Children: Homeless Families in America” (1988) after spending much of winter 1985-86 living in a South Bronx, N.Y., homeless shelter and befriending its residents. Called “bitterly eloquent” by Newsweek and “a searing indictment of society” by the New York Times, “Rachel and Her Children” received the Robert F. Kennedy Book Award and The Conscience in Media Award of the American Society of Journalists and Authors.

Kozol’s most recent book, “Amazing Grace: The Lives of Children and the Conscience of a Nation” (1995), has been called “beautiful and morally worthy” by Nobel Laureate Toni Morrison. Another Nobel Laureate, Elie Wiesel, wrote: “Jonathan’s struggle is noble. What he says must be heard. His outcry must shake our nation out of its guilty indifference.”

Born in Boston, Kozol graduated from Harvard University in 1958 and received a Rhodes Scholarship to Magdalen College, Oxford University. He has held two Guggenheim Fellowships and twice has been a fellow of the Rockefeller Foundation.

A signature talk at Bates since 1975, the Andrews Lecture is a memorial to Bertha May Bell Andrews, who served on the Bates faculty from 1913 to 1917 and established the women’s physical education program at the college. The lectureship was established by her son, Dr. Carl B. Andrews of the Bates class of 1940.

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