Review Source: Rethinking Schools
Book Author: Jesse Hagopian, Denisha Jones
This essential handbook offers a cornucopia of stories, strategies, campaigns, and lessons for making Black lives matter at school. Denisha Jones, early childhood educator and Sarah Lawrence College professor, and Seattle teacher and Rethinking Schools editor Jesse Hagopian are not distant editors picking and choosing readings from afar. They are immersed in the struggles they present here — and this intimate knowledge of issues, individuals, and organizations weaves through every selection in the book.
This is the autobiography of a movement — with first-person accounts from Seattle, Philadelphia, Chicago, Los Angeles, New York City, Washington, D.C., and beyond; with stories from classrooms, schools, school districts, and unions; from high school, elementary, and early childhood educators, union activists, scholars, and students. During the book’s coming-out webinar in December, sponsored by Haymarket Books, contributor Brian Jones of the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture read from an interview Hagopian had conducted with Vermont student activist Noel Riby-Williams about students’ victorious campaign at Montpelier High School to raise the Black Lives Matter flag.
The interview is included in the book. Riby-Williams describes the moment the flag was raised: “Every student of color that was there — whether they were in middle school or elementary school — were all able to help pull the flag up. So we got in a line and we all pulled it up together. That was really beautiful. Our little brothers were there. And as we tugged at the rope, I started crying. At that moment I felt like I was doing this for my little brothers. They’re Black young men, and it’s hard to be Black in this world. But that day was overall just beautiful.” Black Lives Matter at School portrays that beauty. No doubt, it is a struggle, but it can be a joyful one. This book offers a road map to join.
Black Lives Matter at School by Jesse Hagopian, Denisha Jones
Published by Haymarket Books on 2020
Genres: African American, Education
Reading Level: Teachers and Parents
Review Source: Rethinking Schools
Publications Synopsis: Black Lives Matter at School is an essential resource for all those seeking to build an antiracist school system." — Ibram X. Kendi, National Book Award-winning and #1 New York Times Bestselling Author
Black Lives Matter at School succinctly generalizes lessons from successful challenges to institutional racism that have been won through the Black Lives Matter at School movement. This book will inspire many more educators and activists to join the Black Lives Matter at School movement at a moment when this antiracist work in our schools could not be more urgent and critical to education justice.
Contributors include Opal Tometi, who wrote a moving foreword, Bettina Love who shares a powerful chapter on abolitionist teaching, Brian Jones who centers Black Lives Matter at School in the historical context of the ongoing struggle for racial justice in education and prominent teacher union leaders from Chicago to Los Angeles and beyond who discuss the importance of anti-racist struggle in education unions. The book includes essays, interviews, poems, resolutions, and more from educators, students, and parents around the country who have been building Black Lives Matter at School on the ground.
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