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The year was 1966, and America was in the throes of upheaval. Inspired by the goals of the Civil Rights Movement, and by Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.'s vision of a world in which children would be judged not by skin color but by 'the content of their character," Augustus Trowbridge and his wife, Marty, dreamed of establishing a school where children of all races and creeds would be educated together. 'Differences must be immediately experienced, treasured, and understood," Trowbridge wrote in the school's inaugural brochure, 'because a school that avoids differences places education outside the context of living." In this unflinching memoir, Trowbridge tells the deeply human story of the first three decades of Manhattan Country School through the experiences of those who lived it, and those who, even now, are helping to shape and interpret the dream. 'For me the days at your school have always been a fountain of encouragement."-Erik H. Erikson'To the extent that you, your students, parents, and teachers have remained true to that future not yet seen in society, you are bearers of a vision."-Coretta Scott King'Manhattan Country School represents what American public school was ideally supposed to be but rarely became."-Barbara Walters'I think of your school as a small part, as one piece, of the beloved community, a community that is free of violence, racism, and hate. Thank you for making a lasting contribution to generations and generations of young people."-John Lewis'Your school.is totally unique, and therefore offers incredible richness of future information for all of us who are interested in children and their education."-Robert Coles 'Differences among individuals will not, and should not, disappear; rather, they will emerge as assets, hopefully ceasing to be viewed as causes for estrangement."-Gus TrowbridgeOn the basis of this idea, Manhattan Country School opened its doors in September 1966. Begin With a Dream traces the evolution over three decades of what has been called the nation's first realistically integrated private school. Augustus Trowbridge, its cofounder and visionary, frankly explores the politics of race, class, and gender that, at certain periods, threatened to derail the school's mission. The result is a compelling portrait of a small would-be utopia that holds lessons for us all.
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