Dr. Martin L. King Jr. Brotherhood Awards: Dr. Ivory Toldson
Name: Ivory Toldson, PhD
City of Residence: Washington, D.C.
Occupation: Associate professor at Howard University School of Education, senior research analyst for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation, and the editor-in-chief of the Journal of Negro Education
His Work: As a professor, Dr. Toldson publishes reports that directly challenge the negative statistics of Black America, with a particular focus on the Black male. To Dr. Toldson, we are “living examples of every positive outcome we desire.”
On His Brotherly Walk With Dr. King:
Throughout my life, brotherly love has helped me to remain steadfast and resolute about improving the conditions of black men, despite the negative portrayals of black men in the media. It surprises no one that the black male prison population is larger today than at any point in history. However, few people know that the black male college population is also larger today than at any point in history. In addition, the rate increase in college enrollment has expanded for black males over the last 10 years, while the rate increase in incarceration for black males has decreased.
As an educational researcher, instead of looking at the achievement gap between Black and White students, I’d rather look at the academic experiences of high-achieving Black students, particularly those from poor neighborhoods. Instead of looking at how many Black males with disabilities end up in special education, I’d rather look at how many of them end up in honors classes (about 12 percent). We have over analyzed Black problems when we have living examples of every positive outcome we desire. It’s time for Black America to dial down the “crisis” mantra, and lift every voice to a more positive and accurate reflection of our journey. This is not to deny the problems facing the black community, but no people can fix their problems without recognizing their assets.