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SU's Pope Earns $30,000 New America Fellowship

SU's Pope Earns $30,000 New America Fellowship

By SU Public Relations

SALISBURY, MD---Dr. Alexander Pope, Salisbury University assistant professor of secondary education, believes knowledge of regional history can help humanity become better today and improve the future.

Pope is one of 17 recipients of a $30,000 fellowship from New America as part of the Us@250 initiative, focused on reimagining the American narrative based on three core themes: pride in the nation’s progress from its origins; reckoning with historical and contemporary wrongs that have caused the nation to fall short of its ideals; and aspiration for a multiracial, inclusive democracy.

Pope’s plan for his Lumina Foundation-funded fellowship falls in line with these ideas. In his role with SU’s Marilyn C. and Samuel W. Seidel School of Education, he works with many students who plan to be history teachers, and he hits on these points often.

“We talk about the things that you have to deal with if you’re going to teach U.S. history well: race, politics and religion,” said Pope. “These are three areas that you need to discuss. We talk about them with a focus on our founding documents that say, ‘Here are our goals.’ We have the real history that happened. We have things that we’re trying to do in the future.”

Pope plans to use funds from the fellowship to foster community conversations on the racial history of the Delmarva Peninsula, including individuals from different age brackets – from K-12 students to teachers, parents, SU faculty and community members.

“So much of the national effort around this is usually oriented around urban areas, and I think places like the Eastern Shore are easily overlooked,” he said. “Whether it’s low population, not enough critical mass, I don’t know what the thought process is, but it seems like a really good fit for what we have.

“There’s a lot of pride in place here. There’s a lot of effort at trying to create a better future, and there are certainly groups that are willing to grapple with the difficult background.”

Pope hopes to partner with another fellow in the program to focus on community conversations during the two-week period from Juneteenth (June 19) through July 4, 2024.

In many ways, he expects these sessions to expand on conversations already happening through other local organizations, including the Wicomico Truth and Reconciliation Initiative, and Eastern Shore Vulnerable Population Taskforce. He hopes that, together, these efforts will make a difference in understanding and help pave the way for a better tomorrow.

For more information about the Us@250 initiative, visit the New America website.

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