Jesse Milan

By Mike Yoder · February 23, 2011 · Comment on this

Jesse Milan, the first black teacher in Lawrence, talks to a fifth-grade social studies class at Prairie Park Wednesday, Feb. 23, 2011. Milan talked about his experiences during the days of segregation in Lawrence and how he worked for change.

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Cynthia Schott 7 years ago

I remember Jesse Milan as the PE teacher at East Heights School in the middle 1950s. He was awesome. I am white, and it didn't matter to me that Mr. Milan was black. He didn't make me feel like a klutz like one of my white teachers did. He always had a smile. He encouraged everyone.

I am joyous that he spoke to children recently about how Lawrence was back in the fifties. I remember so much of what was mentioned in the video. I remember that as late as 1969, public swimming pools were not available to everyone.

My sister and I wrote a book about a lynching in Lawrence in 1882. I could tell from the newspaper accounts how much of a so-called free state Kansas was.

Keep your chin up, Mr. Milan. You kept mine up. Thanks for being a pioneer for fairness.


GDW 7 years ago

I agree with c schott. I believe we went to the same school as a matter of fact, and my memory of Mr. Milan is the same. He was a wonderful educator, with an incredible amount of patience as well as being incredibly competent. We were all always excited when we were told he was coming for a visit. He showed us things that were not only good for us from a physical education standpoint, but were fun as well. He was one of the most kind, considerate, and caring educators I ever experienced in my 13 years of schools in the Lawrence school system. I haven't spoken to him in many years but I always wanted to thank him for the positive impact he had on myself and all of the elementary students back in the 60's. It however is a shame that at least for me he was one of the few truly dedicated, unbiased, and innovative educators to come out of our school system at that time.

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