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Thursday, May 20, 2021

Ain't nothing like the real thing, and low expectations


My Grandfather introduced me to real books. In school, all we had were abridged versions of the great books. Looking at my Langauge Art school book, he said they left out all the great stuff.

The man who never had more than a sixth-grade education fought in World War 1, went to the March on Washington, painted New York City Bridges, and built church chapels said: I am not having any of this. Boy, go get my hat, we are going to the library. Like the old Ad for Coke, there ain't nothing like the real thing. 

He died before I would leave for college; I doubt he ever imagined his namesake grandson would become a university professor. However, he started me on the path of being a reader, and open the door to this world’s greatest universities, our libraries. To be perfectly honest, Basel Readers, these books containing abridged versions of real, are mainly used in Black, Brown, and Poor schools; Affluent White Schools always get real books. This difference ensures lower expectations in our public schools for children of color. I attended school in a poor urban district, I would not see a real novel until grade 9. We were given Dickens "Great Expectations," a book I had read years before. Of course, I reread it again and loved talking about it in class. Real books build reading stamina and prepare you for life and your college years, where you are expected to read whole books.  My Grandfather countered the low expectations for reading of my schools with his own high expectations.  

Grandfather knew what the great educators and professors, mentors always knew; you need real books. He inspired me to read great books early on,
Got to have real books and a decent hat,
Dr. Jesse P. Turner
Professor of Literacy, Elementary, and Early Childhood Education

If you like to listen to the tune that inspired my morning walk today? It was 
Marvin Gaye & Tammi Terrell, "Ain't Nothing Like the Real Thing."