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Ralph Poynter

Ralph Poynter Used His Strong Voice And Stout Heart To Fight For Justice

Ralph Poynter was the son of a union organizer. His family was located in the Pittsburgh area, which was a major steel producer at that time. He graduated from Duquesne University with a master’s degree in music education. Grounded in union principles, he joined the United Federation of Teachers, UFT, when he began working at P.S. 175 in Harlem as a 5th-grade substitute teacher in the mid-1960s. It was at the time when the struggle for community control of the city’s public schools first erupted. Community school boards throughout the city were attempting to exercise their control of the teaching staff to reflect the needs of the children in their communities.
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