Temple Performing Arts Center
1837 N. Broad St.
April 28 - 30, 2011
Dr. Alfred Tatum (See Bio from the University of Illinois)
Associate Professor, Literacy, Language, and Culture Program
University of Illinois at Chicago
Langston Hughes, the poet laureate of the Harlem Renaissance, was well known for his authentic poems that described and celebrated the life and times of black people. One of his most memorable was Mother to Son. I have included a link to the full poem for those not familiar with it: click here. As you read this poem, close your eyes and visualize the mother insisting that her son not give up on his journey towards a bright future. She vividly depicts her own struggle and refusal to give in to barriers in her way. The poem eloquently describes to the power of determination and resilience. Mother to Son was frequently recited to me by my mother as I was growing from a boy to a young man. And even now, many years later, the memory of her recitation reminds me not to give up.
The theme for the 5th Gathering drew from a selected line from Mother to Son. The theme is Boy, Don’t You Turn Back Now: The Power of Resilience. Resilience is a quality that our sons must have if they are to negotiate and confront the challenges that face them from day to day. Resilient boys and young men of color are more likely to achieve their goals and fulfill their hopes and dreams.
The 5th Gathering, as is our tradition, brought together educational and community leaders, researchers, policy makers, and others who share a common commitment to developing resilient students. Our mission at this conference was to support the efforts of the leaders and educators charged with the responsibility of leaving no boy or young man of color behind.
John S. and James L. Knight Foundation
VIP Awards Sponsor
Local Host Sponsor
School District of Philadelphia
Well, son, I’ll tell you:
Life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
It’s had tacks in it,
And boards torn up,
And places with no carpet on the floor—
But all the time
I’se been a-climbin’ on,
And reachin’ landin’s,
And turnin’ corners,
And sometimes goin’ in the dark
Where there ain’t been no light.
So boy, don’t you turn back.
Don’t you set down on the steps
’Cause you finds it’s kinder hard.
Don’t you fall now—
For I’se still goin’, honey,
I’se still climbin’,
And life for me ain’t been no crystal stair.
(see also PHOTOS from our COSEBOC FaceBook page)