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Educated at the Last Chance School

Educated at the Last Chance School

(p.67) Chapter 3 Educated at the Last Chance School
Raised Up Down Yonder
Angela McMillan Howell
University Press of Mississippi

This chapter examines the challenges faced by black students of Jay Ellis School in Hamilton, Alabama. It looks at the Last Chance School as an ideology and an identity that functions to maintain the existing socioeconomic order and how this particular ideology distorts reality at the expense of Hamilton’s black youth. Using the voice of one student, Kelly Lawrence, as a backdrop, the chapter also compares the socially constructed caricature of Jay Ellis with the reality of Hamilton’s political economy. After discussing the myriad issues at Jay Ellis, which are embedded in layers of history, structure, identity politics, racism, poverty, and individual motives, it considers some of the issues in the nearby Carlyle schools that make them an undesirable option for many Hamilton families, along with contemporary forms of educational inequality in the community.

Keywords:   black youth, Jay Ellis School, Hamilton, Alabama, ideology, identity, socioeconomic order, political economy, racism, poverty

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