Soo Hong on the Book That Changed the Way She Sees the World

July 9, 2012

Wellesley’s Soo Hong, assistant professor of education, was among 12 influential Bostonians selected to describe books that changed how they think about the world around them for a recent special section on diversity in the Boston Globe.

Hong chose I’ve Got the Light of Freedom by Charles Payne. She told the Globe: “I’ve always gotten immense inspiration and motivation from the powerful narratives that come out of social movements. These movements, however, often seem to be led by charismatic leaders and forceful individuals who were destined for greatness. It wasn’t until I read this book that I came to understand how much movements—such as the Civil Rights movement—can be sustained and led by ordinary men and women. High school students, sharecroppers, and beauticians contributed to the movement by building relationships, reaching out to neighbors, walking neighborhood blocks. Through my work in Boston, I have seen how young people and their families can be powerful forces in shaping change."

Hong's research interest is the relationships between schools and the communities they serve, particularly in urban and inner-city environments. Her most recent book, A Cord of Three Strands: A New Approach to Parent Engagement in Schools, examines how low-income, non-English-speaking parents can become advocates, leaders, and role models in their children's schools.