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Ladson-Billings on Madison365’s list of ‘Most Influential African Americans in Wisconsin’

December 26, 2016

The online news magazine Madison365 recently released its list of 2016’s “Most Influential African Americans in Wisconsin.”

This marks the second release of’s annual “Black Power” list.

And among those being recognized this year is the School of Education’s Gloria Ladson-Billings, who was recently elected president of the National Academy of Education. She is the Kellner Family Distinguished Chair in Urban Education and a professor with the departments of Curriculum and InstructionEducational Policy Studies, and Educational Leadership and Policy Analysis.

In highlighting Ladson-Billings’ spot on this year’s list, writes: “Gloria Ladson-Billings is a professor, writer and professional developer in urban education with interests in critical race theory, culturally relevant pedagogy and the power of the black religious experience. ... Recently, she has been exploring hip hop and education as culturally relevant pedagogical strategy. In other words, she’s working to transform inner-city education and education of students of color nationwide.”

Madison365 also named Percy Brown, a senior outreach specialist with the Wisconsin Center for Education Research, to this year’s list.

The article notes: “Percy Brown, Jr. is one of the great leaders to arise from the south side of Madison and a true Madisonian who graduated from West High School. He followed his grandfather's footsteps into a career in education, beginning in his hometown school district before moving on to become Director of Equity and Student Achievement in the Middleton-Cross Plains Area School District. Brown is a difference-maker in the lives of numerous youth and was named a Rising Star, one of five President's Award presented by the Urban League of Greater Madison, at its annual Urban Cabaret at the Monona Terrace. He helped to create the curriculum and also taught a special course on African American History for the Justified Anger Coalition, with about 100 people in attendance. The achievement gaps in Madison are real. Mr. Brown overcame the odds and stayed home to make a difference. From one Madisonian to another … you're inspiring! Or as Jay-Z says, we ‘love it just to see one of us make it!’ ”

Henry Sanders, publisher and CEO of Madison365, says he intends the list to “highlight the beauty of the diversity in our community. I wanted kids here in Wisconsin to see role models of people who are succeeding, to know that it’s possible for African-Americans to achieve great things here. And that’s exactly what last year’s list accomplished, and what we hope to continue with this year’s list.”

Sanders adds: “This list is not, and was not intended to be, exhaustive. It will, however, introduce you to some people you’ve never heard of who are doing great things in other parts of the state or simply working behind the scenes, doing the work without the accolades.”

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