Some people in this world always seem to be where the action is. They run toward the flames of a burning building instead of running away; they jump in the ocean when someone appears to be drowning; they look for the most challenging problems to solve. They don’t follow. They lead. As anyone who has ever met Howard Fuller knows, he is a leader. And if you’ve ever heard him speak, you know he is wise, passionate, and determined—possessed with what Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. called “the fierce urgency of now”—determined to ensure that every child receives an effective education, especially the poorest, who for far too long have not. As Howard said (quoting William Daggett) when resigning from his position as the Superintendent of the Milwaukee Public Schools, “We must love our children’s hopes, dreams, and prayers more than we love the institutional heritage of the school system.”
He left there because although he loved the children of Milwaukee, he knew he could help them more by speaking from a different stage. So he founded the Institute for the Transformation of Learning at Marquette, then the Black Alliance for Educational Options, and in the past two decades, he has been a key figure in the national movement for educational choice.
His memoir, NO STRUGGLE, NO PROGRESS: A Warrior’s Life from Black Power to Educational Reform, rings clearly with his powerful voice, and it answers the question, “How did Howard become so wise, passionate, and determined?” From his humble beginnings in 1940s Jim Crow Louisiana to his meeting with a president in the Oval Office, Howard has lived a truly amazing life, and he tells his story with clarity, honesty, and humility.
His book, like his life, is a true page-turner.