Today's Articles

People, Locations, Episodes

Sun, 07.09.1905

Myles Horton, Socialist born

Myles Horton born

*Myles Horton was born on this date in 1905.  He was a white-American educator, socialist, and administrator. 

Myles Falls Horton was born in 1905 in Savannah, Tennessee, to a poor family. He had two brothers, Daniel and Demas, and one sister, Elsie Pearl. He grew up near Savannah; his parents were Elsie Falls Horton and Perry Horton, former schoolteachers, and Presbyterians. His father was a Workers’ Alliance member, and his mother was a socially active community member. Before the birth of their children, Elsie and Perry Horton worked as educators.

When standards for being an educator changed (they now required at least one year of high school), they lost their jobs because neither had the required education. After that, they worked several odd jobs, including working in factories as sharecroppers. Myles’ parents were peace-loving people who tried to raise their kids as respectful, affectionate, and devoted. They grew up in poverty but never considered themselves lower class. Elsie Falls Horton helped organize classes for less fortunate people and tried to make them more educated in the community. 

Horton left home at fifteen to attend high school and supported himself by working in a sawmill and then a box factory. During this time, Horton experienced union organization by working at a sawmill and as a factory packer. As a teenager, he demonstrated his activism by holding a strike for higher wages at the tomato factory. Horton attended Cumberland College in Tennessee in 1924 and continued his work with local unions. He attended many colleges, including Cumberland University, graduating in 1928; to the University of Chicago. After college, Horton went to work as a state Student YMCA secretary. 

In 1929, Horton became familiar with social gospel philosophy while studying at the Union Theological Seminary in New York City. He wanted to find a way to challenge and change the social condition, and education became his nonviolent instrument. Horton learned about the Danish folk high schools at the University of Chicago. Inspired by his visit to these schools, Horton helped established his education center, Highlander Folk School, in Monteagle, Tennessee, in 1932. 

He later married Zilphia Mae Johnson in 1935. Zilphia Horton was a constant collaborator with Horton until she died in 1956. Zilphia and Myles Horton had two children. In 1962, Horton married Aimee Isgrig.  co-founder of the Highlander Folk School, famous for its role in the American Civil Rights Movement.  Horton taught and heavily influenced many of the era's leaders. They included Martin Luther King Jr., Rosa ParksJohn LewisJames BevelBernard LafayetteRalph Abernathy, John B. Thompson, and many others.  On January 19, 1990, Myles Horton died at 84. 

To Become a Community Service Manager

New Poem Each Day

Poetry Corner

If the drum is a woman why are you pounding your drum into an insane babble why are you pistol whipping your drum at dawn why are you shooting... IF THE DRUM IS A WOMAN by Jayne Cortez.
Read More