My 40-year journey as an educator has always directly or indirectly included some form of the arts, as I worked in public schools, higher education, community centers, libraries, and in summer schools and theater programs. I learned the value of the arts from experience. My earliest and most pleasant memories as a child include the arts. Growing up in the middle twentieth century in a Black urban community, the arts were a source of culture, pleasure, and agency. Black secular and religious music represented a standard of excellence during a time when little of Black excellence was represented in the mass media and was an alternative space we proudly claimed in opposition to White claims of superiority. Many poets, particularly Black poets like Dunbar and Hughes, were regularly recited in my home. Participation in drama became a means of creative expression and critical thought. I carried many of these memories and skills into teaching.