Each of us learns differently. Those who are disabled face more challenges learning than the rest of us, but they are just as intelligent. Dr. Addison Brown Poland, who became the Superintendent of the Newark Schools in 1901, was a pioneer of the educational system who believed that all children could learn regardless of any disabilities that they had. As a great educational leader in Newark, he started schools for disabled students such as for the deaf, blind, handicapped and those with speech impediments. He also founded industrial and technical schools, so students could acquire workplace skills. Due to his excellence in education, he improved Newark’s summer schools and evening schools.
There is a tablet dedicated to Dr. Addison Brown at King Boulevard and New Street in Newark, New Jersey. It is close to the main entrance to Central Commercial and Technical High School. He will always be remembered for providing quality schooling for Newark students and for helping disabled pupils learn.
October is Disability Awareness Month, a month that honors all disabled individuals and those gifted individuals who have helped them. Dr. Addison Brown was a noteworthy educator and one that we should remember during this month, for he left a legacy for disabled individuals that they too are capable of learning and achieving greatness.
Beyond The Eyes, an organization of blind and visually impaired individuals, is a group that continues to follow Dr. Addison Brown’s educational philosophy; they lead productive and fulfilling lives. The members of Beyond The Eyes make many contributions to the community and educate sighted individuals about the blind and visually impaired. That profound lesson in humanity, not only in academics, that a disabled individual can teach us about the human spirit is exactly what Dr. Addison Brown wanted us to learn.