An Elegy For A Beloved Black Educator

“Black Love is collective love. It’s not only for the individual, it’s love for the community. It has to do with a consciousness that allows us to feel a responsibility with those who we cohabitate with on this earth. We have much to learn from the many expressions of Black Love”. Dr.  Angela Davis

When espousing upon the urgency and powerfulness of Black educators in schools, often conversations travel pedagogy laden segmented paths. The unique underpinnings and nuances of Black Love in the practices of Black Educators is exhilarating. The freedom to promenade through parades of knowledge guided by individuals that are threaded and fused throughout the interior of one’s life by the power of peoplehood love is of incalculable value.

Mr. Oris Russell Stuart, Jr. my Black Educator Hero passed away this week. He was also my brother in-law of 57 years. Since I was “little-bitty Janie”,

I was blessed to closely witness his Black Urban Teacher Love, his Black Community Empowerment Love, his Black Mentoring and Modeling Love, his Black pushing fiscal viability love, his Black next generation lift love, his Black peoplehood love.

Big O. was a profound orator of Blackness in America. In and outside the schoolhouse he taught, loved, and lived Black History. As a History teacher for the School District of Philadelphia, everyday of his 35 years of  service he outwardly and inwardly represented black excellence.

The pride and beauty of the artisans of the Harlem Renaissance shined through Big O. He was a polished custodian of the arts. As a life-long learner he challenged himself to pursue novel learning, cultural, and global explorations. He was purpose driven and committed to his family, his church, and community.

His wife, my Big Sister RoseMarie also a Black teacher-soldier, his children and family were his standard bearers. Big O. warmly embraced the vastness of duties aligned with being a Black Man gifted the responsible of pushing community climb.

Black educators are mirrors, border crossers, interactive bulletin boards. They are gift wrapped vessels of knowledge. They serve others as philosophical entryways. They harness and simultaneously full throttle move many through navigating life’s highways. They help others unravel and understand the multiplicity of their personal beauty. They love folks through the shrapnel, trials and triumphs of life. It seems as if Black Educators have the majestic power to illuminate hope in the darkest of times.

There are no lines of demarcation of the Climb and Lift impact of Black Educators. Impact is Intergenerational, societal and global. Black Educators’ Lift swirls throughout communities like softly falling snow flakes, snuggling and gently hugging everything.

Mr. Oris Russell Stuart, Jr., personified the powerful brilliance, unparalleled lift, strength, resilience and beautiful love of Black Educators. I, my practice and all those that benefit from my professional and community services are beneficiaries of his legacy. His contributions to the world are ongoing and immeasurable. The enduring legacy of Black Educators is extraordinary.


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