Lifer's Graduation Speech

How do you explain the casual way in which you threw away your life? Answering that question honestly took years of struggling with my own failings. It was not easy, and I did not enjoy it. But I had to. That was the question I had to answer for myself before I could ever get up and speak to others.

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Common Good Atlanta
Research as a Form of Liberation: A Reflection of English 1102

As a college in prison program, we have access to two libraries within the prison: one traditional, the other radical. The traditional library includes books that are donated to help people in prison pass the time. They include mainly older novels and other books from the public’s bookshelves. But our library of Liberal Arts (Common Good Atlanta’s college program library) is continuously being built from diversity, built by people who are eager to enlighten others within an institutional setting.

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Common Good Atlanta
One Big Wow: Crossing Thresholds with MERE WORDS by Dr. Caroline Young

In an early morning of May 2017 before a visit to Phillips State Prison, I had a waking dream.  It would be my first visit to the men’s facility, and I was nervous I would forget some of the artwork I was delivering to students there.  In the dream, I arrived at the prison only to discover that I had left the literary broadsides an hour behind at home.  As I rushed in to explain my predicament to Sarah and Bill, I found myself in a women’s facility.  I was thrown; not only had I forgotten the artwork but I was clearly in the wrong place. And then I awoke.

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Common Good Atlanta
“You Can’t Be A Talking Head”: Acting Class for The Tempest Continues

Acting instructor John Frazier gives the students instructions for an exercise: “Pick a word from your chosen monologue, just one word, and keep repeating it.”  A storm of words springs forth from the students and fills the room: monster, roaring, devil, listen, overthrown, first, hunted, Lord.

So began part two of John Frazier’s three-class workshop in acting and script analysis. 

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Common Good Atlanta
First Annual Common Good Atlanta Conference

Our First Annual Common Good Conference demonstrated not only the profound depth of the incarcerated scholars’ academic work, but also their remarkable poise, grace, humor, warm human interaction, and insatiable intellectual curiosity.

Paulo Freire said that “reading is not walking on the words; it’s grasping the soul of them.” At the first Common Good Conference, the scholars grasped the soul of words. And they then projected those words onto the souls of other scholars.

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Common Good Atlanta