Schoolrooms, or Cells and Gibbets (from Reading the Key)

Schoolrooms, or Cells and GibbetsEliza Cook was a 19th-century English poet and writer, from whose words the title of this painting is taken. She wrote that it would be better to “build schoolrooms for the boy, than cells and gibbets for the man.”

This is a compelling statement, ringing with truth. The lives of the educated most often do not include crime or injury.  Near the base of this composition, Cook’s words cradle a school picture of a young boy in 1934. What will his future hold? More schoolrooms, or cells and gibbets?

This painting has a simple message: Education is vital. There are pages from a 1949 World History textbook presenting information about medieval classrooms and the first documented beginnings of formal education.  Among the other mixed media, there is also a “color plate” from an even older history textbook featuring a map of Africa, where still today education is a luxury for many children.

Jimmy Carter said, “The measure of a society is found in how they treat their weakest and most helpless citizens. As Americans, we are blessed with circumstances that protect our human rights and our religious freedom, but for many people around the world, deprivation and persecution have become a way of life.”  As bright and active as they are, the children of this world, by definition, are among our “weakest and most helpless citizens.”  To them is our first responsibility.

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~ by gingermeekallen on May 13, 2009.

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