Black Men Inspiring Hope


By Dale Mezzacappa

Stephen Flemming is one teacher in one classroom, but he may be doing as much to keep his low-income black students in school – black males in particular – as any formal program targeted toward “at-risk” students.

Flemming teaches English language arts to 5th graders at John B. Kelly Elementary School in Germantown. All but three of his students, spread over three homerooms, are African American.

Of the District’s teachers, just 4 percent are African American males, like Flemming, and he’s one of a mere handful at the elementary level.

In his spacious classroom, some of the students, especially the boys, are so eager to participate that they can hardly stay in their seats. One boy grasps a basketball and occasionally bounces it. Flemming doesn’t tell him to put it away.

Jennifer Krout