"For I'd Rather Be Dead Than Not to Dream of a Better World": Mae Gadpaille's Vision of the Montessori Family Centre Community
Author: Mary McNeil, Harvard University
Comment: Ashley Farmer, University of Texas – Austin
Tuesday 21 January
Massachusetts Historical Society
1154 Boylston St., Boston, MA 02215
In 1967, Mae Gadpaille, the director of a black Montessori preschool in Roxbury, faced displacement; the church that housed her school was slated to be cleared for an urban renewal project. In response, Gadpaille launched a campaign to build the Montessori Family Centre Community, a living community for approximately 150 families with a PreK-12 Montessori school in the center. This talk traces Gadpaille's efforts to realize her vision, paying special attention to how she thought Montessori methods could help advance a black nationalist project of self-determination, while also considering the limitations of such a vision – namely, who could "belong" to this community and who might be left at the margins.
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