Fixing the Problem We All Live With

(In 500 words) Please describe your idea for a Praxis Lab. You can visit our Praxis Lab Webpage to take a look at previous ideas. Tell us what community or social problem you would focus on, why this problem is critical to address, and what role collaboration must play in development of a concrete solution.


In 1964, Norman Rockwell produced his famous painting, The Problem We All Live With. This iconic Civil Rights Era piece depicts six-year-old Ruby Bridges, the first African American child to attend an all-white elementary school, being escorted by U.S. Marshals on her way to school. She is seen walking close behind the marshals for protection, while the remains of a tomato thrown against the wall behind Ruby’s head drips to the ground. A degrading racial slur and the letters “KKK” are written on the wall.

Today, Norman Rockwell paintings are seen as relics from a bygone era- they are quaint, capturing americana at its best, and in this case, its most poignant. His pieces carry with them a sense of the past, representing a nostalgic reminder of what many Americans have experienced and overcome. Yet, to what extent have the issues captured in The Problem We All Live With been resolved? Public education is a fundamentally essential institution in our society, advancing opportunities for all Americans regardless of race, gender, economic status, and political persuasion. This promise is not universally achieved in practice, and the failure to do so lessens the sustainability of our most cherished traditions, values, and...

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