Charles McKinney is an Ally Alum and past Program Manager of Public Allies North Carolina. He’s currently an Assistant Professor at Rhodes College, in Memphis, TN. We caught up with him on Facebook to see what he’s up to, and what advice he has for the next generation of Allies.
MacArthur: 1. When and where were you on staff of PA?
Charles: i was an ally during the 95-96 program year. i became a program manager after that, and worked in the north carolina PA office for five years.
MacArthur: 2. When you close your eyes, and think of that time, what images or memories show up in your mind’s eye?
Charles: i’m a big time fan of jazz music. i also play the sax. jazz informs much of my life. so when i think back to those days, i think of how well the staff worked together. we were like a jazz quintet. we played off of each other; we supported each other; and we took it to the wall for our allies each and every class we worked with.
MacArthur: 3. What projects (personally/professionally) are you excited about now, and how does PA influence how you approach those projects (if at all)?
Charles: currently, i’m an assistant professor of history at rhodes college in memphis, TN. so, one of my central “projects” these days is to teach history in a way that makes it come alive for my students. working as a facilitator/program manager at PA all those years made me a MUCH better teacher. PA gave me the tools to craft a dynamic classroom; PA taught me how to take seemingly divergent viewpoints and put them in dialogue with each other. another project that has PA written all over it is my ongoing quest to challenge students to think about their service to society more broadly, and to get them to realize that community service makes you a better, smarter, more informed citizen.
MacArthur: Great! Now I’ll ask you three questions — you give me two word answers…Fill in the blank… Memphis, TN is…
Charles: …(thinking…)all good!
MacArthur: Life after Public Allies is…
Charles: makes sense…oops. after PA is…more meaningful
MacArthur: Ok, and final two-word: advice you’d give to an incoming Ally (besides “good luck”)
Charles: listen more
MacArthur: Thanks for your time, Charles!
Charles: My pleasure!