During the 2021 Leadership Summit of the National Education Association last March, a prominent civil rights leader quoted the scholarship of 965 Vice President Mike Pierce.
The concluding keynote address of the NEA conference was delivered by the Rev. Dr. William J. Barber II. His speech, perhaps because he delivered it on a Sunday morning, moved in moments to a magnificent sermon on the importance and interconnectedness of education, organized labor and race.
Rev. Barber starts at 14:55, and the video link above should start at that point. He starts the topic that references Mike around 31:55 and name-drops our vice president about 32:30.* The address as well as the conference programs overall were conducted online on Zoom due to the coronavirus pandemic.
More recently, Mike, an associate professor of history with a Ph.D. from Ohio State University, saw his Nelson Hackett Project accepted into the National Underground Railroad Network to Freedom Program of the National Parks Service, detailed in an article from the campus’s University Relations:
“In 1841, Hackett escaped enslavement in the frontier town of Fayetteville and fled to Canada, where he thought his freedom was secure. Despite opposition, he was extradited from Canada, becoming the first and only freedom seeker that Canada returned to bondage in the United States.”
Mike’s academic research considers aspects of the intersection of race and labor.
*While we’ve set the video to start with the Rev. Barber’s address, the tape begins with a prerecorded NEA statement then remarks from Takeru Nagayoshi, 2020 Massachusetts Teacher of the Year, followed by comments by the national union’s secretary-treasurer, Noel Candelaria, who introduces Barber. Following the minister, NEA Vice President Princess R. Moss and President Becky Pringle close the conference. All have value.