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School Clothes by Jarvis R. Givens
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School Clothes

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School Clothes by Jarvis R. Givens
Hardcover $25.95
Feb 07, 2023 | ISBN 9780807054819

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  • Feb 07, 2023 | ISBN 9780807054819

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  • Feb 07, 2023 | ISBN 9780807054741

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Product Details


“A sharp examination of how Black students have consistently overcome institutionalized racism. This book, which will appeal especially to educators and historians, triumphantly rewrites Black students into a history that has ignored them. An eloquently necessary study.”
Kirkus Reviews

“A treasure of Black student voices about their separate and distinctive experiences with American schooling. With School Clothes, Jarvis Givens has brought to magnificent view the special meaning of schooling in Black America across time and space. A must-read for anyone seeking to understand and educate Black children.”
—James D. Anderson, author of The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860–1935

School Clothes deftly captures the dialogic character of education—a feature too often missed in our singular focus on teachers. Drawing on a range of personal memoirs and a wealth of historical and theoretical knowledge, Jarvis R. Givens reveals that black students experience the classroom as a terrain of battle, a stage, an observatory and a microscope, and a space of nurture, imagination, and freedom-making. And as such, they must dress for the occasion.”
—Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination

“In School Clothes, Jarvis Givens offers a penetrating historical excavation of the ancient tropes and distortions that have for centuries dominated the discourse about black students…revealing their wounds and their witness, listening to their voices and insights, laying bare their armor, celebrating their gifts, and composing a liberating cultural narrative that is at once heartbreaking and hopeful…and true.”
—Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, author of Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer

School Clothes is an ode to black adornment: veils both literal and symbolic, the masks we wear that grin and lie, the outfits and encouraging words we choose for our children—from Sunday morning to the first day of class—to help them shine. Jarvis Givens’s careful attention to the interior lives of black students is astonishing to witness. And this book is a mighty weapon against a world that calls those young people problems, disruptions, unworthiness enfleshed. At every turn, Givens speaks back to such misrecognition with fire, rigor, and a measure of tenderness that clarifies the true stakes of this groundbreaking new work: the preservation of all that we love.”
—Joshua Bennett, author of Being Property Once Myself: Blackness and the End of Man

School Clothes takes readers ‘behind the veil’ to gain insights from several generations of Black students. This is a brilliant, well-researched, and cogent study that centers the voices and experiences of Black students in the American educational system. It is a beautiful tribute—and testament—to the power of Black knowledge and resistance.”
—Keisha N. Blain, coeditor of the No. 1 New York Times bestseller Four Hundred Souls and author of Until I Am Free

Table Of Contents

“School Clothes” and the Black Vernacular

Living and Learning Behind the Veil

Going to School North of Slavery

Becoming Fugitive Learners

Learning and Striving in the Afterlife of Slavery

Reading in the Dark: Becoming Black Literate Subjects

A Singing School for Justice

Some of Them Became Schoolteachers

Hieroglyphics of the Black Student Body

Image Credits

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