Danish American Exchange, Danish folk school model


Physical education instructor Oscar Gunkler of Berea College was perhaps the first person from Kentucky to travel to Denmark to study the unique Danish folk school model. In 1924, he travelled to Ollerup Gymnastikhøjskole to better understand this educational phenomenon and find ways to implement it in the curriculum at Berea College, which was the first college in the south to integrate black and white students back in 1853. The slogan of Berea College, which was at one time very provocative, is “God has Made of One Blood All the Peoples of the earth.” The college was founded by the abolitionist and pastor John G. Fee, who had to flee north with his ideas and students during the Civil War. I was lucky enough to meet Oscar Gunkler a few times in 1995 and 1996 before he passed away in his nineties. he remembered fondly how the Danish folk school and its philosophy had changed both his way of thinking and the way his PE classes at Berea College were conducted.