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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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Praise

“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 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

“In School Clothes, 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&mdsah;from Sunday morning to the first day of class—to help them shine. 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

“Drawing on a range of personal memoirs and a wealth of historical and theoretical knowledge, 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

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

PREFACE
“School Clothes” and the Black Vernacular

INTRODUCTION
Living and Learning Behind the Veil

CHAPTER 1
Going to School North of Slavery

CHAPTER 2
Becoming Fugitive Learners

CHAPTER 3
Learning and Striving in the Afterlife of Slavery

CHAPTER 4
Reading in the Dark: Becoming Black Literate Subjects

CHAPTER 5
A Singing School for Justice

CHAPTER 6
Some of Them Became Schoolteachers

CONCLUSION
Hieroglyphics of the Black Student Body

Acknowledgments
Notes
Image Credits
Index

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