“Not Paved for Us” - Black Educators and Public School Reform in Philadelphia with Dr. Camika Royal

Southern Soul - Live Stream

May 19 2022 • 45 mins

“I think it's very important to have first person accounts, and if it can't be a first person account, a witness account,” shares Dr. Camika Royal, professor with 23 years of education experience and Author of Not Paved for Us. In today’s episode host D-Rich sits down with guests Dr. Camika Royal and Historian and Educator Peter J. Boykin to talk about public school reform in Philadelphia and the challenges facing Black educators now and throughout history.

While Philadelphia may be viewed as a very liberal northern city, its history is much darker and full of racist undertones. When teachers were first hired by the district, they were separated into two lists based on race. After receiving backlash, the district merged the lists, but still found ways to treat Black educators as inferior. The Voluntary Transfer Program was put in place to send Black educators to different schools in an effort to “desegregate” the faculty, rather than making white educators change schools. Protests by Black students demanding more Black educators and African American history courses were historically met with police violence. Similar attempts to keep Black educators down and keep African American history out of schools have been widespread across the country, even in cities where the majority of the school districts are home to primarily African American students.

Join Dr. Camika Royal, Peter J. Boykin, and host D-Rich on this week’s episode of Southern Soul Live Stream - Podshow to learn more about the history of public school reform in Philadelphia, the challenges facing Black educators and students, and the similarities between the education system in Philadelphia and southern cities like Detroit.


• “In Philadelphia, they're starting to make these connections. It’s not just the UK having all of this power and colonizing all these people. We have our own version here in the US and in Philadelphia as well.” (10:14-10:29 | Dr. Royal)

• “In the late ‘70s, some Black educators were like, wait a minute, we are Black people teaching at a majority Black school. Why should we have to leave? We work well with each other. We're invested in these children. Why are we responsible for desegregating this school district?” (14:48-15:02 | Dr. Royal)

• “People need to look in their own communities to see what stories need to be told so that there will be testimonies of our work and how we fought back against racism, against white supremacy, against anglo-normativity, against the patriarchy, against all these forms of oppression that continue to try to kill us.” (28:45-29:08 | Dr. Royal)

• “People say that Brown v. Board of Education was a southern thing, but it really encompasses the whole United States.” (35:50-35:57 | Peter J. Boykin)

• “Even with a majority African American School District, there's still a lot of inequity.” (36:35-36:39 | Peter J. Boykin)


More Information about Dr. Royal - https://www.loyola.edu/school-education/faculty/camika-royal

Not Paved For Us: Black Educators and Public School Reform in Philadelphia - https://www.hepg.org/hep-home/books/not-paved-for-us

The day Philadelphia bombed its own people:


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