Episode 14: A World Cut in Two

As the history of now adds fresh new pages with each passing day, your H A G team hosts new voices and shares historical insights to help make sense of it all. For episode 14, Josh and Chris welcome to the podcast Sacramento educator and activist, Jordan McGowan. With great relevance for the unfolding drama of our day, Jordan discusses the decolonizing of the classroom and the need to liberate education from the broad design of systemic racism. In the history of racist systems, segregated schools represent just one sphere of control enforced by the established ruling powers. Josh and Chris consider others, including the urban landscape, and explain how the streets and gridded blocks of the city have often been divided into a geography of control and containment. For a century or more, powerful interests, both propertied and policing, have often rang alarm against the ‘enemy within’ and conspired to suppress the grievances of the urban poor, whether factory workers or civil rights protestors. Today, as they sit mostly repurposed, city armories are a silent vestige of the urban battle ground once born of that fear, and their successor, militarized police forces, carry on the legacy of power through control and dominance of the public sphere.

Educator and activist, Jordan McGowan

To listen to Episode 14 A World Cut in Two, click the link below:


Sources Referenced and Other Items of Interest

Assata: An Autobiography


Last Chance U: Laney College (Netflix)


Frantz Fanon, The Wretched of the Earth (1961)


Frederick Kunkle, “Labor Day’s Violent Roots: How a worker revolt on the B&O Railroad left 100 people dead,” (Washington Post, September 4, 2017)


An image of the 9th Regiment Armory, at W. 14th street. Built in 1894 the armory featured the castellated gothic style of design. According to one architectural description, the building was “a medieval fortress of rough-cut granite.  Crenelated towers, loops (the narrow openings for shooting arrows from inside), and arched entrances gave a solidly monumental quality to the building.   With 40-inch thick walls, it was built to withstand attack.  The colossal iron entrance doors were iron were ornamented with scrollwork.

The wide boulevards of Paris as reconstructed by Georges-Eugene Haussmann, following the vast public redesign of the city, completed in 1870. Ordered by the Emperor Napoleon III, Hausmann’s plan was designed to better accommodate French military units in the keeping of public order, especially in moving men and arms to neighborhoods where public disturbances and narrow, crooked streets had made access difficult in the past. Urban planning now reflected an aesthetic preference for broad vistas, but also the assertion of such power against the citizenry in the areas where they lived.

Decolonization never takes place unnoticed, for it influences individuals and modifies them fundamentally. It transforms spectators crushed with their inessentiality into privileged actors, with the grandiose glare of history’s floodlights upon them. It brings a natural rhythm into existence, introduced by new men, and with it a new language and a new humanity. 

Frantz Fanon
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