Of all the civil rights for which the world has struggled and fought for 5,000 years, the right to learn is undoubtedly the most fundamental. If a people has preserved this right, then no matter how far it goes astray, no matter how many mistakes it makes, in the long run, in the unfolding of generations, it is going to come back to this right. But if at any time, or for any long period, people are prevented from thinking, children are indoctrinated with dogma, and they are made to learn not what is necessarily true but what the dominant forces in their world want them to think is true, then there is no aberration from truth and progress of which such a people may not be guilty…. The freedom to learn, curtailed even as it is today, has been bought by bitter sacrifice. And whatever we may think of the curtailment of other civil rights, we should fight to the last ditch to keep open the right to learn, the right to have examined in our schools not only what we believe but what we do not believe; not only what our leaders say, but what the leaders of other groups and nations, and the leaders of other centuries have said. We must insist upon this to give our children the fairness of a start which will equip them with such an array of facts and such an attitude toward truth that they can have a real chance to judge what the world is, and what its greater minds have thought it might be.
W.E.B. Du Bois, from The Freedom to Learn (1949)