On Wednesday, June 24th, Tilton School held the first of many virtual discussions surrounding race, equality, and inclusion. This first virtual conversation was called The Meaning of the Movement: a look back, a look forward, and how to support.
Featured during this discussion were two alumni guest speakers, Harold Bailey Jr. '66 and Samuel Alicéa ‘18. Both alumni have a history of fighting for equality and have taken to activism to invoke change.
Harold Bailey Jr. ‘66 is Executive Vice President of McLeod Associates, Inc., an information technology consulting firm. He was formerly CEO, Americas for Show Business Software, Ltd. Prior to his retirement as
IBM's Vice President of Lotus Marketing Integration, he worked at IBM for 30 years in marketing, sales and services.
He is a trustee of the Tilton School from which he received the George L. Plimpton Award for outstanding contribution to society. He is also a trustee emeritus of Brown University, his alma mater, from which he also received an honorary Ph.D.
Dr. Bailey began this virtual discussion by highlighting the historical context of racism dating back to slavery, and also touched on the systematic context of racism.
“(A racist thought) is ‘I see an inherent difference between two groups in native capabilities’, so whether it’s intelligence or its the ability to be funny or whatever that is, that is a racist construct,” Bailey said. “Anything that moves us in that direction is racist. If what I see instead is that it’s policy and never people, and we move in that direction, and we are actively doing that, that is what we are talking about as moving in an antiracist direction.”
Dr. Bailey was born into segregation in the late 1940s in Knoxville, Tennessee. After receiving a scholarship to Phillips-Exeter after his 9th grade year, he returned home and was among a group of students involved in integrating a high school in his town. He ended up at summer school at Tilton the following summer, after which then Head of School Burt Moore spoke to his parents about having him come to Tilton immediately if possible.
Harold’s junior and senior years at Tilton School were life-changing. There were four black students in his class of about 80. After Tilton, Harold chose to attend Brown University, where he walked into a situation, and ended up participating in a nationally publicized walkout in the spring of 1968.
He equated both the historical context and his experience at Brown University with our nation’s current movement.
“What we are doing right now, we are not looking at each other as real human beings. And all of us equally as human beings. You’re either human, or you aren’t.”
This transitioned the discussion over to Samuel Alicéa ’18. Alicéa, a native of Boscawen, New Hampshire, became involved in activism at a young age, going public with this passion when he took a knee during the National Anthem before the 2016 Homecoming football game at his former high school. Alicéa is going into his junior year as a film major at Morehouse College in Atlanta.
Presently, as peaceful protests have happened across the world in response to the death of George Flloyd and police brutality, he has continued this activism, speaking at numerous events across New Hampshire. Most recently, he has been an integral part of organizing Black Lives Matter protests in Concord, NH.
Alicéa echoed many of Bailey’s statements. He discussed racism he had experienced as far back as 6-years-old. He explained that while some of this racism was blatant, much of it was underlying. As a present day activist, Alicéa also pointed out the role social media has played in educating and activating via the Black Lives Matter movement.
“What we’re seeing right now is this surplus of education, especially with social media,” he said. “It is funneling itself through the Black Lives Matter movement. You see a lot of people becoming educated. I think this is kind of where this upheaval is coming from. There have been protests all over the world; black and white people, different countries and continents... ”
When discussing his current involvement in the peaceful protests in Concord, he explained that he would like these events in New Hampshire’s state capital to be an example of how organizing the movement should be done.
“We are trying to build the movement that we want to see. So everyone can look at what we’re doing as the way to do it.”
Read more about Samuel Alicéa's journey into activism here:
After our alumni presenters, we opened the floor up for questions and discussion. Tilton's Head of School David Thiel P'24 spoke to the changes he plans to enact beginning this year, including but not limited to amplifying the voices of our BIPOC presence on campus and creating a more open and diverse community in terms of leadership and curriculum.