Exposition breeds boredom, so I’ll keep it brief. The characters on this blog will develop for themselves over the coming months, so there will be no need for lengthy introductions. One exception: I ought to introduce myself.
As you might have guessed from the URL, my name is Matthew Taylor King. Until I joined the Duke Class of 2018, I had spent my entire life in Richmond, Virginia. This summer is my first time in the Mississippi Delta. Here, I’ll living with ten other people in Cleveland, Mississippi (yes, another Cleveland!) and teaching rhetoric to middle school students at the Sunflower County Freedom Project. The latter combines two of my longstanding interests: American rhetoric and the state of public education in the United States.
The purpose of this blog is to document and reflect upon my experiences here in the Delta. I anticipate the coming months will bring irrepressible joy, occasional conflict, unrelenting challenge, significant personal and intellectual growth, and surprises I cannot now imagine. I will share them all with you.
P.S. “Mississippi Learning” alludes to the 1988 film Mississippi Burning (starring Gene Hackman and Willem Dafoe), which chronicles the FBI investigation of the murder of three civil rights workers during a “Freedom Summer” in 1964. I hope this blog draws on the legacy of the Civil Rights Movement and continues, in its own small way, the great unfinished work of making America’s education system work for all America’s children.