1954 Project Seeks To Give Black Education Innovators $1 Million Grants

Black educators and schools can get a helping hand with $1 million in grants from The 1954 Project
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Photos: Spirit

Black educators and schools can get a helping hand with $1 million in grants from The 1954 Project, a philanthropic venture to support those working on new approaches to schooling Black children.

Applications are being accepted for the second cohort of Luminaries — educators who may seek grants in three categories: economic mobility, diversity in education, and innovation in teaching and learning. The first five Luminary Award winners were honored in a virtual ceremony in April.

The 1954 Project is named to mark the year the U.S. Supreme Court’s Brown vs. the Board of Education ruling barred segregation in public schools, said Liz Thompson, president of the philanthropic CAFE Group. One unintended consequence of the ruling was that “young Black kids and brown kids went to white schools, but there was very little appetite to have white children taught by Black teachers,” she said.

One of the speakers in a webinar about The 1954 Project states that “the students were integrated, but the teachers and administrators were left out. … Of the 82,000 teachers in the South, half were fired.” Those who weren’t fired suffered relentless discrimination, which drove more Black educators out of the field.

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