What are the origins of educational rights? In this essay, Espinoza and Vossoughi assert that educational rights are “produced,” “affirmed,” and “negated” not only through legislative and legal channels but also through an evolving spectrum of educational activities embedded in everyday life. Thus, they argue that the “heart” of educational rights—the very idea that positive educative experiences resulting in learning are a human entitlement irrespective of social or legal status—has come to inhere in the educational experiences of persons subjected to social degradation and humiliation. After examining key moments in the African American educational rights experience as composite historical products, the authors determine that learning is “dignity-conferring” and “rights-generative.” They revisit African slave narratives, testimony from landmark desegregation cases, and foundational texts in the history of African American education where they find luminous first-person accounts of intellectual activity in the shadow of sanction, suppression, discouragement, and punishment. They conclude by outlining an empirical framework for studying the nexus of learning, dignity, and educational rights from a social interactional perspective.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.