Mel King is an activist, politician, educator, and lifelong resident of the South End in Boston,Massachusetts. His passion is transformation: finding ways to support human development,learning for life, and social change for justice. For thirty years King has been a strong and active force in the development of the Black community in Boston. His role in community education and development is expansive. He has, among many other activities, worked for his community as an elected official; served as a state representative to the Massachusetts legislature for twelve years; and run as a candidate for mayor of Boston. King has always worked with young people in and out of schools, on the streets and in community centers; he was active in organizing youths and parents to desegregate Boston's public schools. King is a member of the Rainbow Coalition,a progressive organization that is politically active at the local and national levels and has, with the presidential candidacy of Jesse Jackson, become a strong voice within the Democratic Party. His books, A Chain of Change and Liberating Theory (written with Albert, Cagan Chomsky, Hahnel, Sargent, and Sklar), document his thinking and practice on community development,education, and social change. Mel King is currently Adjunct Professor and Director of the Community Fellows Program in the Department of Urban Studies and Planning at the Massachusetts Institute of Technology.

The Editorial Board of the Review thought it would be exciting and informative to talk with Mel King about his rich experience and work in community-based education. We wanted to include in our Special Issue someone local, someone right near us; someone from our own community in the Boston area, because we felt that talking with a neighbor and finding out what's going on in our own area is an essential part of community-based education. We decided to interview Mel King instead of asking him to write an article, because we wanted the give-and-take of a conversation and because we could talk with him right down the street. Over the span of several months three members of the Review — Alexander Goniprow, Victoria Borden Muñoz,and Jacquelyn Ramos — interviewed Mel King at his MIT office. The interviews were audiotaped and transcribed, providing over one-hundred pages of text from about five hours of conversation. Transforming the conversation from audiotapes to a written piece was an educational process in itself. We quickly realized that how we talked and what we said, although clear during our conversations, needed much editing and additional explanations to read clearly. The task of editing such a rich narrative was not easy but we believe that what follows is true to the content and the form of our collaboration.

The conversation begins with our asking questions and Mel King responding to them. At the end of our first meeting where King discussed his views on transformation, education, and community development he also asked us what we thought our role was in community-based education and in transformation. We agreed that each of us would think this over and return to the next meeting with a "moment of transformation" story; that is, a time when we were transformed by something we learned, when we learned something new about ourselves, our community, our work. We did this in keeping with the spirit of King's firm belief in the "valuing of all people and the value of all people." These stories compose the last part of the conversation. This represents what we mean by community-based education — namely, the valuing of everyone as equals and the personal as well as political importance of change.

We thought a good place to start would be by talking about some of the principles of community-based education and what these are for you.

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