Tuscaloosa’s Marsalis Jones wears many hats. He’s a history major, a father, and a University of Alabama police dispatcher. But he has yet another mission in mind: becoming a high school history teacher.
“As An African-American male, I only had one black male teacher my entire time in public school from K-12. History has always been my favorite subject and I believe it would benefit the next generation of young black men to see greater representation of people who look like them teaching in public schools,” he explained.
Marsalis holds a particular interest in the period between Reconstruction and the beginning of the Civil Rights Movement. “This period in black history includes the rise of black nationalism, the frustration of black soldiers returning home from war to a divided nation, and the artistic creativity of the Harlem Renaissance,” Marsalis notes. “I believe this era in American History, as well as the failures of government and politicians to properly address the race issue, speaks to our current times and the difficulties minorities and poor people of all races still face today.”
Marsalis plans to bring this passion to his future students. “When you’re able to read someone’s personal experience and what they endured, history becomes more than just facts, dates, and black and white photographs,” he said.