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Photo Friday: Help from the Family

Ernest L. Boyer and his two brothers, Bill and Paul at the SUNY chancellor's home to celebrate their parents' 50th wedding anniversary. - BCA

Ernest L. Boyer and his two brothers, Bill and Paul at the SUNY chancellor’s home to celebrate their parents’ 50th wedding anniversary. – BCA

Today’s Photo Friday post shows Ernie Boyer with his two brothers Bill (left) and Paul (middle) at the State University of New York (SUNY) chancellor’s home for their parent’s 50th wedding anniversary in 1974. This photo is an example of the strong connection this family shared. In fact, at various points throughout his career, Ernie received professional support from his family. Today’s post focuses on Ernie’s brother Paul and the work he did to support his brother.

Paul Boyer was an author, history professor, and director of the Institute for Research in the Humanities at the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Even though Ernie had a host of editors, including his wife, who lived closer than Wisconsin to review drafts of future publications or speeches, he still sent some work to his brother, believing in the wisdom he could provide. When Paul received this work from his brother, he would make grammatical edits, recommendations, comments of his overall impression of the work, and a log of how much time he spent reviewing the work. On one occasion, Paul spent over 15 hours reviewing a speech entitled “Civic Education: Some New Thoughts on a Familiar Subject”, which Ernie delivered at the Chancellor’s Colloquium at the Los Angeles Community Colleges. In a letter sent to Ernie regarding his review of the speech Paul writes:

Here is a draft along the lines we discussed. I hope you find it helpful for your Los Angeles speech. It’s probably a little longer than you need, but some of the earlier historical material could be cut back if needed, such as some of the quoted passages on pp. 2-3, and some of the stuff on the 1920s, on p. 5-6. I thought though that in a speech in which you speak of the importance of learning from the past, it would be useful to have a fairly solid historical grounding for what you say.

You will note that on p. 12-13, and again on pp. 16-17, I have woven in some passages and sentences from A Quest for Common Learning and Higher Learning in the Nation’s Service. I assume it isn’t plagiarism if you quote yourself without footnotes, but if the speech should be published you might want to add footnotes at these points indicating that this material is based on those two books.

This excerpt exemplifies the reflective insight Paul was able to provide for Ernie and how much Ernie valued his brother’s opinion. Yet, these feelings were also reciprocated. In a book Paul wrote entitled Mission on Taylor Street: The Founding and Yearly Years of the Dayton Brethren in Christ Mission he acknowledges Ernie for providing “information, assistance and encouragement.” Therefore, today’s post pays tribute to Paul Boyer’s personal accomplishments, as well as what seems to be a recurring theme here at Service Fulfilled, which is the love that the Boyer family had for one another and how it overflowed into their professional work.

To see more examples of Paul’s correspondence with Ernie, click here.

Many Mansions: Kathryn Boyer’s Memoir

Ernie and Kay Boyer on their wedding day. -- ELB Center Archives

Ernie and Kay Boyer on their wedding day. — ELB Center Archives

If you spend enough time immersed in Dr. Ernest L. Boyer’s professional work, it won’t take long to discover tiny glimpses of his life at home. Anecdotes of his family crept into speeches and impromptu remarks. It’s a nice reminder that despite his devotion to public service and commitment to quality education he also held a deep devotion to his family. Boyer understood that serving his wife and children as a good husband and father was just as (perhaps more so) important as his career.

Now we have the opportunity to peer deeper into Boyer’s dedication to his family with the publication of Kathryn Boyer’s memoir, Many Mansions: Lessons of Faith, Family, and Public Service.

many-mansionsOfficially released last year at a private reception at Messiah College, the memoir chronicles the myriad experiences of the Ernest L. Boyer family. Each chapter focuses on a different house (there are 20 total!) the family lived in and the memories made in those homes. For any scholar of Ernest L. Boyer, Kathryn Boyer’s memoir in memory of her husband expands his legacy even further and widens our comprehension of the man behind the service.

You can purchase your copy of the book, published by Abilene Christian University Press, here.

Look for more posts about this book coming soon!

The Mastery of Language

If there is one constant throughout the work of Ernest L. Boyer it is his empahsis on the mastery of language.  He stressed it in speeches and featured it prominently in Carnegie Foundation publications like Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation, High School: Secondary Education in America, and College: The Undergraduate Experience.  Whether his work pertained to primary education, secondary education, or college, language was a key element regardless.  Boyer spoke candidly of his own personal joy learning to read while attending Miss Rice’s first grade class.  His earliest introduction of language obviously made a lasting impression and, from an outsider’s perspective, established a sort of lifelong love affair.  Language was the key to not only a quality education, but a quality life.  In the words of Boyer, “…language defines our humanity.”

Combining his leadership in the field of education and his deep personal love of language, Boyer promoted literacy throughout his entire career.  At the 1988 Virginia State Library and Archives Literacy Conference, he reminded the crowd that advocating for literacy went beyond the mechanics of learning to read.  That is merely the surface issue.  But beyond that is comprehension and the ability to make connections.  “Literacy means the ability to think clearly and creatively, and engage in constructive discourse.  Above all, we need integrity in literacy – an understanding that the use of language is a sacred trust.”  Language is a tool all humans use, all day, every day.  Have you ever considered it a sacred trust? My guess is most of us view it as a common necessity.  Boyer reminds us, though, that it is anything but a necessity.  It is the fount of emotion.  It is the source of connection.  It is the key to life.

Word cloud of Boyer's speech "Today we learn to read."

Read Boyer’s entire speech delivered at the 1988 Virginia State Library and Archives Literacy Conference, “Today we learn to read.”

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Family Values

“There may be differences in lifestyle – some of it by choice, others by necessity.  But for us to somehow draw moral skirts around us and say that we’re holier than someone else because of their family circumstances is a lose-lose situation.  [It] doesn’t make me feel any better, and it certainly doesn’t make you feel any better either.  So I think that’s not the issue.  The issue is that although people’s family circumstances might differ, overwhelmingly we are convinced that we ought to do right by children.  That’s the point that brings us together.” – Ernest L. Boyer, when asked about “family values” during an interview on the Carnegie Foundation publication “Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation”.

*Sometimes you’re watching an interview with Ernest L. Boyer and are struck by a profound statement and need to rewind and pause multiple times to jot it all down, because the words still hold so much meaning today.*

The Leaden-Eyed

On this last day of National Poetry Month, here’s a poem frequently quoted by Dr. Ernest L. Boyer: Vachel Lindsay’s “The Leaden-Eyed.”

Let not young souls be smothered out before

They do quaint deeds and fully flaunt their pride.

It is the world’s one crime its babes grow dull,

Its poor ox-like, limp and leaden-eyed.

Not that they starve; but starve so dreamlessly.

Not that they sow, but that they seldom reap,

Not that they serve, but have no gods to serve,

Not that they die, but that they die like sheep.

Quoted in a speech entitled “Truth in Education,” October 29, 1979.

Access to the Archives: Spring 2014

All of the chapter manuscripts for Ernest L. Boyer’s Ready to Learn have been digitized and are available online for the convenience of researchers.  The two publications the archives team is currently working on are: School Choice and Campus Life: In Search of Community. Student workers are in the process of digitizing the School Choice manuscripts and records are currently being added for Boyer’s Campus Life report – digitization has begun for those boxes too.

Manuscript box 025 holds various manuscripts from the Carnegie Foundation publication "Campus Life: In Search of Community." All the archival processes for this box were completed on April 15, 2014.

March Madness

It’s that time of year again.  Rabid college basketball fans are obsessing over their bracket picks and following every game in the NCAA basketball tournament.  As a freshman at Messiah Bible College, Ernest L. Boyer played guard for the varsity basketball team.  The team ended the season with four wins and one loss.  Their opponents?  Various alumni from Grantham, Carlisle, Franklin, and Lancaster. Judging from the photo below it seems Boyer specialized in defense.

Ernie Boyer - a defensive specialist.

Ernie Boyer (bottom row, first on the left) with his intramural basketball team.

Access to the Archives: Kicking off 2014

Happy 2014, all!  It’s been a few months since we updated the blogosphere about the current work being done at The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives of Messiah College. With a new year, we figured this was the perfect time to provide a little insight into the daily operations of the archives.

Due to the return of our work-study students this fall we have digitized all the chapter manuscripts of the Carnegie Foundation publication Scholarship Reconsidered (catalog numbers 1000 0001 9635 – 1000 0002 0644). Currently the chapter manuscripts for Ready to Learn (catalog numbers 1000 0002 0645 – 1000 0002 1799) are being scanned and made available to researchers online.  Recently the manuscripts for Tribal Colleges (catalog numbers 1000 0002 1800 – 1000 0002 1833) have been cataloged and are next on the docket for digitization. School Choice is the Carnegie Foundation publication currently being organized and cataloged in preparation for digitization. We better get back to work!

Ernie at Sea: Solid Ground

Here is our last installment of Ernest Boyer’s participation in a humanitarian relief effort with the Brethren Service Committee after World War II. Thanks to a scrapbook, we have been able to share photos and journal entries written by Ernie.  This final installment includes Ernie’s last days on the Wesley Barrett – read further to discover the condition of the sea, the beauty of a rainbow, and where the crew learns the ship will dock.  On July 20, 1946, Boyer went through United States Customs and re-entered the country in Highgate Springs, Vermont.  After over a month away, Ernie returned with a German helmet, a German gas mask, some chinaware, and plenty of memories.

Friday, July 12, 1946 –

A typical “calm after the storm” day the sun shone brightly and the sea was calm.  This afternoon I spent the time taking a sunbath and got rather “red.”

Saturday, July 13, 1946 –

It was rather cloudy today.  The sea is “choppy” again.  Got official news today that we are going to Montreal Canada.  The cowboys are really in an uproar because there is a possibility we cannot get off the ship since that is a foreign part.  They say we may have to stay by it for another trip.  Sea got very rough again tonite!  I could hardly sleep because I kept rolling from side to side and cups, plates, glasses [and] the like kept rattling [and] breaking.  Solid ground would feel very good right now.

Sunday, July 14, 1946 –

It was a very nice sunny day even though the boat was very rocky.  Had our Sunday service today with Melvin Hess in charge.  Ship still heading for Montreal.  We are supposed to stop at Halifax Nova Scotia to get maps of the St. Lawrence.  Had a chicken dinner today.  Spent the afternoon taking a sun bath.  Had news tonight that the ship might be turned over to Canada.  Don’t know if its the truth or not.  Rocky tonite again.

Monday, July 15, 1946 –

Today was rather cold and chilly.  The sea is becoming more calm which is proof that we are getting near land.  Tonite we got our first glimpse of land which was Nova Scotia.  We stopped at Halifax to pick up charts of the St. Lawrence River.  Land sure looked good.

Tuesday, July 16, 1946 –

Have been going past land all day still Nova Scotia and surrounding territory.  The country is beautiful up here.  We were within several hundred feet of land.  We entered the Bay of St. Lawrence this evening.  Since it was such a beautiful day, I was up in the turret most of the day enjoying the sun.

* I forgot to add that on Monday evening I viewed several of the most beautiful sights I have ever witnessed.  First of all we were called up on topside to witness the most beautiful rainbow I have ever seen.  Words cannot describe it but as compete semi-circle formed in the Eastern sky the colors grew in intensity until they were almost unbelievably rich and distinct, richer than any artist could paint it.  And then as a crowning feature, another one formed just above it.  The colors were just as distinct although slightly paler.  The area within the semi-spheres was very light and radiant while without it was rather dark.  It reminded me of a very immense [and] indescribably beautiful amphitheater.  These had hardly faded out until a most beautiful sunset met our gaze.  To top it off, about ten o’clock a gorgeous full moon appeared that lit up the sky and made a glorious reflection on the water.  I don’t imagine I will ever witness such a night again.

Wednesday, July 17, 1946 –

When I awoke this morning it looked as it would be a beautiful day.  However it has been cloudy and windy all day.  We entered the mouth of the St. Lawrence this morning.  Our fears of not being able to get off the boat were smashed today when Mr. Crist told us to sign up if we were getting off and that our checks would be waiting for us.  I am thinking now of hitch-hiking home.  Anyway it will be good to be back in the states.

Thursday, July 18, 1946 –

It was another beautiful day.  I slept until almost noon.  I was up on deck all afternoon watching the scenery as we steamed down the St. Lawrence.  It was really beautiful.  We were at Quebec about 3:00 PM today.  It is said we will get to Montreal about 6:00 A.M. tomorrow morning.

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5. Part 6.

Ernie at Sea: Reverse Course

Continue on with Ernie Boyer and the crew of the Wesley Barrett as they set sail once again – this time heading back west.  Read the next ten entries and discover how the sea treated the liberty ship on its back to the states.

Tuesday, July 2, 1946 –

It was clear today.  Our messman has been sick for several days.  The dishes are not washed and the food is not served right.  Today we had a showdown.  Some of the fellows went to the Captain and others went to Mr. Crist.  The cowboys organized and elected a chairman.  We set sail about 2:45 P.M. for America.  We had a fire and boat drill.  We anchored just off the harbor while the ship was searched for stowaways.  We entered the Baltic Sea that afternoon and it was rougher than the other time we had crossed it.

Wednesday, July 3, 1946 –

It was clear and warm today.  Our messman is finally back with us.  We turned our watches back an hour.  Expecting to hit Kiel Kanal about 12 A.M.  Saw Sweden clearly this morning.

Thursday, July 4, 1946 –

It is a wonderful day.  The sun was hot.  Around 12 AM we dropped anchor at Kiel and a waterboat came out [and] filled up our water tanks.  We entered the Kanal about 7:30 this morning.  I thought of the folks at home [and] what they would be doing since this was the “fourth.”  Traveled through canal all day and left it about 5:30 P.M.  We then entered the North Sea.

Friday, July 5, 1946 –

It was cold [and] windy today.  The sea was rough.  We are traveling about 13 knots an hour.  The slopchest was open today.  Not much happened except tonite we entered the channel.

Saturday, July 6, 1946 –

Today was clear and cool.  We spent the day coming down the English Channel.  We passed Dover [and] her Cliffs about 3 A.M.  We saw the shores of England this morning.  Turned watches back [and] left the Channel about noon.

Sunday, July 7, 1946 –

It was a clear warm July day.  We are now in the North Atlantic.  Had our Sunday services at 10 A.M. and Mr. Crist was in charge.  We had a good Turkey dinner.  I was feeling a little dizzy since the boat is rocking a little more.  The slopchest was open for the last time.

Monday, July 8, 1946 –

It was cloudy [and] cool today.  We had a discussion period today on God vs Evolution.  Had another fire [and] boat drill.  Some fellows caused a lot of confusion [and] noise last night by pretending to clean the joint up about midnight [and] waking every one up.

Tuesday, July 9, 1946 –

Cloudy again today.  Another day that was almost uneventful except for reading, sleeping, and playing games.  What a life.

Wednesday, July 10, 1946 –

It was chilly [and] cloudy again today.  Sea was very rough.  This makes it bad because we loose time.  A notice came in today that the ship was going to Seattle, Wash and then to Hawaii, from there to China.  It had the cowboys pretty excited but it is probably just a joke.  We can’t be sure where we are going to land since we have heard Boston, New York, Newport News, Houston, Pensacola [and] Baltimore.

Thursday, July 11, 1946 –

It was cloudy [and] chilly again today.  The sea was the worst I have seen it yet.  The water would come shooting over the bow which is 50 or 60 ft high.  The bow would raise about 10 ft out of the water and then plunge in the water to a depth of about 30 ft.  Large waves about 30 ft high would roll past the boat and she would really toss.  It wasn’t safe to walk across the deck.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4. Part 5.

Ernie at Sea: Poland

This installment of “Ernie at Sea,” sees Ernest Boyer come face to face with the destruction and terror of the Second World War.  In the final days of June, 1946, the liberty ship, Wesley Barrett, reached Poland to unload cattle – part of a wider humanitarian relief project aiding war-torn Europe. These next four entries of Boyer’s account highlight his reaction to the scenes in Poland he stumbles across and seeks.

Friday, June 28, 1946 –

It was warm and cloudy today.  We fed cows for the last time.  We brought up our equipment for the last time.  The poles started unloading the ship about nine.  After dinner we were given shore leave and for the first time in two weeks, my feet touched land.  We [hopped] a bumpy ride to Tangford and from there took a ride in another truck (their bus system) to Danzig.  The destruction is almost beyond description.  Block after block of houses and buildings completely destroyed and laid to the ground.  Children would flock around us and beg for cigarettes and candy.  It is surprising how soon you become accustomed to the destruction and poverty and hardly notice it.  That is the shame of it.

Saturday, June 29, 1946 –

It was clear and warm today.  We were not permitted to have shore leave after 9 A.M.  I did go ashore in the morning to try to get souvenirs.  However most of the stores were closed due to election time.  Went ashore in the afternoon again to take some pictures.  Went to a bombed out church.  We were not back on the ship until about 3 P.M.  The [?] had the ship unloaded by this time and had the manure hauled out.  They did a very thorough job and even scrubbed the ship down with water.

Sunday, June 30, 1946 –

No shore leave permitted again today.  Still due to the elections.  The streets are considered unsafe.  However we were told that after 6 P.M. we had shore leave.  Some of us went to a battlefield.  It is supposed to be the place where the first shots were fired at the beginning of World War II.  We were warned of the Poles to be careful because there were still a lot of land mines around.  There were pillboxes in which there were helmets, gas masks and other equipment.  I got several for souvenirs.  There were also skeletons of men lying around with parts of clothing still on their frame.  We returned to ship about 9 P.M.  We didn’t have any church service today.

Monday, July 1, 1946 –

It was clear [and] warm today.  Went ashore in morning until 10 AM at which time we were supposed to be back on ship.  The ships board then read that we would sail 9 AM. Tuesday.  I then went ashore [and] took more pictures.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3. Part 4.

Ernie at Sea: Land Ho!

We last left Ernest Boyer and the crew of the liberty ship, Wesley Barrett, in the middle of the Atlantic Ocean heading to Europe.  After two weeks at sea, land is finally spotted – the countryside of England.  Read Ernie’s next five entries as he describes entering the English Channel and continuing on through the North Sea before reaching his ultimate destination, Poland:

Sunday, June 23, 1946 –

Today was the day!  We had entered the English Channel about midnight last night.  Although it was foggy earlier it lifted about 9:45 A.M. and we got the first sight of land.  It was a point on the English coast called Lizards Point.  It was very pretty and we could see farms and pasture land.  Had our Sunday Services on deck after dinner.  We were also given a short talk on what to do and what not to do in a foreign part.  Almost rammed another boat this evening.  Wrote home and to Kay because we were to stop for a pilot at Dover who would take us through the channel.

Monday, June 24, 1946 –

Cool cloudy today.  It rained this afternoon.  We saw the coast of England again today and around ten o’clock we saw the white cliffs of Dover.  It was almost hard to believe I was viewing a spot I had heard so much about.  They were very impressive as seen through the mist and fog of morning.  About 10:30 we dropped anchor at Dover.  At this point our pilot got off and took our letters ashore.  Since we were anchored we had a good view of land.  We entered the North Sea late this afternoon.  Some of the fellows  are getting sick again.  The percer says it is probably due to the change of climate.  I have been getting along O.K. though.

Tuesday, June 25, 1946 –

Two cows died today.  It will probably not prove of interest later on but it is important news on ship.  We took on a German Pilot to guide us through North Sea since this area is heavily mined.  We saw many sunken ships which was proof of the fact.  Around seven o’clock we could see the German coast and around nine o’clock we entered the Elbe River.  After going down the Elbe for about three hours we came to the entrance of the Kiel Kanal.  There we were so near land we could almost touch it.  Men flocked around the boat trying to trade all sorts of things for cigarettes.  I stayed up until about one but finally retired knowing I had to get up at six.

Wednesday, June 26, 1946 –

It is a clear warm day.  This proved one of the most interesting days of the trip.  We spent nearly all morning going through the Kiel.  We past the very beautiful part of German countryside.  Children ran down to the waters edge and we threw them oranges and apples.  Leaving the Kanal we entered the Kiel Bay at the City of Kiel Germany.  We entered the Baltic Sea this afternoon.  Mr. Templeton, one of our foreman has become very ill.  Our destination is not far off.

Thursday, June 27, 1946 –

Cloudy this morning.  It rained about dinnertime.  We saw land about suppertime and at 8:00 P.M. we entered the Harbor of Newport, Poland.  A tug took us in and docked.  Polish officers entered the boat with Tommy-guns strapped to their backs.  It seemed like about every officer or soldier carried a rifle or something.  They had a hard time finding the stowaway.  We stayed up late mainly because our bunkroom was filled with Poles trying to trade off cameras, binoculars etc. for cigarettes.  We finally got to bed.

Images and journal entries taken from a scrapbook of Boyer’s experience (catalog # 1000 0001 4085).

Part 1. Part 2. Part 3.

Quote of the Week

“Education must prepare students to be independent, self-reliant human beings. But education, at its best, also must help students go beyond their private interests, gain a more integrative view of knowledge, and relate their learning to the realities of life.”

This quote seems extremely relevant in the midst of graduation season.

Ready to Learn

Two weeks ago President Obama delivered his State of the Union address to the country.  In his speech, he made a point to acknowledge the importance of early education and stated that every American child has the right to enroll in a quality preschool program.  President Obama gave three specific reasons as to why focusing on early education is good for the nation in the long run: it will ultimately boost graduation rates, reduce teen pregnancy, and reduce violent crime.  During his second term in office, the President explained that he and his staff will look to work with states to ensure that all children start their education career in a respected preschool program.

If you’re aware of the work of Ernest L. Boyer, this may sound familiar.  During his career as a lifelong advocate for education, Dr. Boyer had a lot to say about the early years and how critical they are for further development.  In a speech entitled “Ready to Learn: A Mandate for the Nation,” he posed a simple question: “Children are our most precious resource.  In the end, they’re all we have.  And if we as a nation cannot prepare all children for learning and for life, then just what will bring America together?”  With the polarizing nature of American politics today, President Obama could have posed that same question to that nation two weeks ago.

Dr. Boyer’s speech was derived from a special report of the same name published in 1992 by The Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching.  The report outlined seven initiatives for school readiness.  The third priority had to do specifically with preschool education.  The Carnegie Foundation stated that every disadvantaged child is entitled to a good head start in a high quality preschool program.  In his speech, Dr. Boyer again challenged his audience, asking: “How is it that we [the United States] can spend $300 billion every year on national defense?  How is it that we can send space shuttles into orbit?  And never seem to have enough money for our children?”  The Carnegie Foundation’s report also wanted to recognize the importance of preschool teachers by raising their salaries, hopeful that doing so would also bring them respect.

President Obama perhaps said it best during his State of the Union address: “These initiatives in manufacturing, energy, infrastructure, housing – all these things will help entrepreneurs and small business owners expand and create new jobs.  But none of it will matter unless we also equip our citizens with the skills and training to fill those jobs.  And that has to start at the earliest possible age.”  I think Dr. Boyer would agree.

Researching From Home

Did you know that you can conduct research on Ernest Boyer from the comfort of your own home?  Yes, it’s true!  While we love hosting researchers in the archives on campus, we understand that for some people it is not feasible nor altogether necessary to travel to Messiah College.  That’s why over the past two years the Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives has made a major push to digitize its collection and make resources more accessible to researchers online.  While there is still a lot of work to be done and plenty of materials left to be scanned, major achievements have been made.  This post is to help walk you through the steps of researching the work of Ernest Boyer via the web.

To begin your research go to the Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives homepage.  Once there, click on “search the catalog.”  Once there, enter relevant search terms or keywords you hope to find in the collection.

The picture to the left is a screenshot of archival record #1000 0000 0038.  As you can see, the information available to researchers are as follows: catalog number, object name, the scope and content of the record, the date, the event this record is related to, collection, people, related search terms, and multimedia.  For those researching at home, the multimedia field will be the most useful.  Our goal is to give researchers the ability to read the exact drafts of speeches, manuscripts, articles, and other resources of that nature on their own computer screens.  So, if the PDF version of a document is available to researchers the last field will have a hyperlink, directing you to “click here” (see picture below).

Clicking on the hyperlink will direct you to the PDF version of a speech Dr. Boyer delivered on June 6, 1984, upon receiving the Distinguished Fellow Award of the Academy of Educational Development (AED).  You’ll notice that the speech is handwritten, so you can read (or try to read) the words Boyer actually wrote.

So, what are you waiting for?  Happy researching!

The Life of Martin Luther King: An Educational Imperative

Martin Luther King, Jr. acknowledging the crowd gathered in Washington, D.C.

Today we Americans observe a federal holiday in remembrance of one of the greatest forces for peace and justice that ever lived.  Yes, for a lot of people the best thing about today is having a day off work or school.  I won’t deny that is a nice perk.  I mean, who doesn’t love a three-day weekend? No one.  However, amongst the extra errands you may be running to get a head start on the work week, or the extra relaxing you may be enjoying to recuperate from the hectic weekend, we should all carve out a few minutes of our day to remember the life of Martin Luther King, Jr.  To remember how he lived so fearlessly for a cause of equality which he pursued tirelessly.  To remember the words he spoke so eloquently.  To remember that the echoes of his words still ring today, and that some are hearing his words for the first time.

In 1988, Ernest Boyer spoke at a conference sponsored by the Martin Luther King, Jr. Federal Holiday Commission in Washington, D.C.  The conference was organized to discuss meaningful ways to infuse the life and work of Martin Luther King, Jr. in school curriculums across the nation. Boyer delivered a speech entitled “The Life of Martin Luther King: An Educational Imperative.”

To Boyer, incorporating the memory of Martin Luther King into the nation’s classrooms was a crucial necessity – and served as a way to expose students to the civil rights movement in the United States, the understanding and power of nonviolence, and reverence for the written and spoken word.  Not doing so would mean Martin Luther King, Jr. Day would “be a time when we remember only the symbols, not the substance of his work.”

Boyer’s speech outlined three specific reasons why school curriculums should include a study on Martin Luther King, Jr.:

1.) A study of Dr. King’s life, work, and legacy introduce students to the 20th century freedom movement in the United States.

2.) Dr. King’s legacy lives on today through the words he spoke and penned.  He has left the world a multitude of literary devices within his speeches and letters that teachers should tap into and incorporate in lessons.  Boyer never stopped triumphing the centrality of language, and for him, Dr. King’s lasting words can teach students that “language is a sacred trust.”

3.) Students that understand Dr. King learn that what you learn in life influences how you live.  Education has the power to teach morality. Education has the power to inspire service.  Education has the power to fuel mission.  The life of Martin Luther King, Jr., better than most, highlights these human imperatives.

In short, Boyer said it quite simply with one sentence in his speech: “No student in America’s schools can be considered well educated if he or she does not learn about this nation’s long and agonizing crusade for civil rights…”

Photo courtesy of The Seattle Times gallery on Martin Luther King Jr. and the civil rights movement.

The Man in Action

[youtube]http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4-TFN16faN0&list=UUFxu7dyMRgxCAr20e29KO8Q&index=75[/youtube]

After spending too much time brainstorming the best way to introduce Ernest L. Boyer to those reading this blog, it finally came to me – why not let him speak for himself?

Over the course of his career, Dr. Boyer had multiple speaking engagements.  While heading up the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching he could be scheduled to speak or attend a conference every day of the week.  Frequent flier miles; Dr. Boyer had them.  The clip above comes from a program entitled “Quest for Peace.”  The interview was recorded in 1984, during the start of President Ronald Reagan’s famed “Star Wars” initiative.

Dr. Boyer did not shy away from mentioning the country’s defense strategies while still embroiled in the Cold War, and poses a unique question: Where is the Manhattan Project for peace?

Hello world!

Question for you.  Are you familiar with the life and work of Dr. Ernest L. Boyer?  If you answered yes, congratulations!  If no, then that’s why we are here.

This blog will serve as the voice for the Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives of Messiah College.  Currently the archives contains over 480 linear feet of manuscripts, audio and visual materials, correspondence, speeches, and other materials documenting the life and work of Dr. Boyer.

So who was he and why should you care?

Dr. Boyer was a pioneer in the world of American education in the 20th century.  He most notably served as the United States Commissioner of Education under President Jimmy Carter, and then went on to lead the Carnegie Foundation for the Advancement of Teaching (CFAT) as their president from 1979-1995.  At the time of his death, in 1995, his colleague, Samuel G. Sava, called him the “foremost educator of our time.”

Since Dr. Boyer’s education began at a small two-year bible college in central Pennsylvania, his family thought it right to donate his personal library and archives to Messiah College.  In 1998, the Ernest L. Boyer Center was established at Messiah College to promote learning, advance scholarship, foster community, engage society, and educate “servant leaders” – goals Dr. Boyer held close to his heart throughout his whole career.  The Boyer Archives is a large facility to help ensure these realities in American education.

The Ernest L. Boyer Center Archives is a great resource for students and scholars alike in the field of education.  Currently the archival staff is working to promote the work and legacy of Dr. Boyer by cataloging and digitizing its holdings and then making materials available for researchers online.

Interested in learning more about Dr. Boyer and how his work continues in the 21st century?  Stick with us.