- NAME: Myles Horton
- OCCUPATION: Civil Rights Activist, Environmental Activist
- BIRTH DATE: July 19, 1905
- DEATH DATE: January 19, 1990
- EDUCATION: Cumberland University, University of Chicago, Union Theological Seminary
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Near Savannah, Tennessee
- PLACE OF DEATH: New Market, Tennessee
- Full Name: Myles Falls Horton
- AKA: Myles Horton
Best Known For
20th century visionary Myles Horton founded the Highlander Folk School in Tennessee, focusing on labor organizing, civil rights and advocacy for the poor.
Think you know about Biography?
Answer questions and see how you rank against other players.Play Now
Born on July 9, 1905, in the region of Savannah, Tennessee, Myles Horton was inspired by progressive Danish schools and his own community activism to found the Highlander Folk School in 1932. Despite attacks, the institution made strides in labor organizing and Civil Rights Movement work, actively opposing segregation. A great believer in free thought, Horton died on January 19, 1990.
"I have to be the final arbiter of my beliefs and my actions, and I can't fall back and justify it by saying, I'm a Marxist, I'm a Christian, I'm a technological expert, I'm an educator."
"The future is out there, ready to be changed. You must be creative, imaginative, and courageously dedicated for the long haul."
"We believe that education leads to action. If you advocate just one action, you're an organizer. We teach leadership here [at Highlander]. Then people go out and do what they want."
"From my mother and father, I learned the idea of service and the value of education. They taught me by their actions that you are supposed to serve your fellow men, you're supposed to do something worthwhile with your life, and education is meant to help you do something for others."
"Highlander's an idea. You can't padlock an idea."
Myles Falls Horton was born on July 9, 1905, in a rural area near Savannah, Tennessee, to Elsie Falls and Perry Horton, educators who later worked an assortment of jobs. Though growing up with limited financial resources, Horton was taught by his parents to value others in his community as well as the power of organizing.
Horton attended Cumberland University in the 1920s, experiencing ethnic diversity. In the summer of 1927, he worked for the Presbyterian Church and ran community meetings, with an emphasis on people telling their stories. After studying at Union Theological Seminary and the University of Chicago by the start of the 1930s, Horton traveled to Europe. He visited and scrutinized the folk schools of Denmark, which emphasized social engagement of issues over more dogmatic, academic styles of learning.
While abroad, Horton resolved to create a school in his home region that would focus on people sharing and analyzing their experiences, using revelations to effect social change and initiate self-growth. With a group of others, he started the Southern Mountains School (later renamed the Highlander Folk School) in 1932 in Monteagle, Tennessee.
Highlander was known for its advocacy for the impoverished and labor organizing, working with the Congress of Industrial Organizations and implementing training programs. The school later initiated classes for African-American students with the intent of driving voter registration, and became a place for discussing Civil Rights Movement strategies.
Highlander thus was a unique oasis in the legally segregated state, where black and white citizens freely co-mingled. People who attended and/or taught at Highlander include Rosa Parks, Pete Seeger, Julian Bond, Eleanor Roosevelt, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Fannie Lou Hamer.
Highlander faced opposition from regional governmental forces as well as the Ku Klux Klan, with staff being physically attacked and the organization facing slurs and accusations of communism from political conservatives. The school was shut down by the state in 1961, only to be reopened immediately by Horton as the Highland Research and Education Center, relocating to Knoxville.
Horton believed in the importance of a pluralistic, free-thinking society that deviated from systems of indoctrination often put forth by traditional education. "People are creative," Horton said at age 75 in a television interview on Bill Moyers' Journal. "You've got to allow them to do a lot of things that don't fit any kind of system."
In 1972, Highlander moved to the expansive, hilltop farm site of New Market, Tennessee, continuing its activism over the years with work on immigrant's and women's rights and anti-globalization policies.
profile name: Myles Horton profile occupation:
Sign in with Facebook to see how you and your friends are connected to famous icons.
Your Friends' Connections
Included In These Groups
Famous Cancerians 589 people in this group
"Power at its best is love implementing the demands of justice. Justice at its best is love correcting everything that stands against love." Stated by legendary civil rights leader Martin Luther King Jr., these words represent a basic human philosophy to which black history's greatest leaders have passionately subscribed. Learn more about the world's most revered civil rights activists, known for their fight against social injustices and lasting impact on the lives of black citizens, including Harriet Tubman, Sojourner Truth, Nelson Mandela, Nina Simone, Mary McLeod Bethune, Lena Horne, Marva Collins, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. Du Bois, Malcolm X and Martin Luther King Jr.
Famous Civil Rights Activists 186 people in this group
Famous Environmental Activists 43 people in this group