Monday, May 17, 2021

Virtual Author Talk: Dr. Jarvis R. Givens

Dr. Jarvis R. Givens
Join the State Library in partnership with the Boston Public Library, the Museum of African American History (MAAH), and Black Educators' Alliance of Massachusetts (BEAM) for an online conversation with Dr. Jarvis R. Givens, author of Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, and BEAM President Dr. Kim Parker. This online event will begin at 7pm on Wednesday, June 2, and is free and open to all.

Fugitive Pedagogy is a fresh portrayal of one of the architects of the African American intellectual tradition, whose faith in the subversive power of education will inspire teachers and learners today. Black education was a subversive act from its inception. African Americans pursued education through clandestine means, often in defiance of law and custom, even under threat of violence. They developed what Jarvis Givens calls a tradition of “fugitive pedagogy”―a theory and practice of Black education in America. The enslaved learned to read in spite of widespread prohibitions; newly emancipated people braved the dangers of integrating all-White schools and the hardships of building Black schools. Teachers developed covert instructional strategies, creative responses to the persistence of White opposition. From slavery through the Jim Crow era, Black people passed down this educational heritage.

There is perhaps no better exemplar of this heritage than Carter G. Woodson―groundbreaking historian, founder of Black History Month, and legendary educator under Jim Crow. Givens shows that Woodson succeeded because of the world of Black teachers to which he belonged: Woodson’s first teachers were his formerly enslaved uncles, he himself taught for nearly thirty years, and he spent his life partnering with educators to transform the lives of Black students. Fugitive Pedagogy chronicles Woodson’s efforts to fight against the “mis-education of the Negro” by helping teachers and students to see themselves and their mission as set apart from an anti-Black world. Teachers, students, families, and communities worked together, using Woodson’s materials and methods as they fought for power in schools and continued the work of fugitive pedagogy. Forged in slavery, embodied by Woodson, this tradition of escape remains essential for teachers and students today.

Dr. Jarvis R. Givens, a native of Compton, California, is an assistant professor at the Harvard Graduate School of Education, a faculty affiliate in the department of African & African American Studies, and the Suzanne Young Murray assistant professor at the Radcliffe Institute for Advanced Study at Harvard University. Givens earned his undergraduate and graduate degrees from the University of California, Berkeley. He is a Mellon Mays, Ford Foundation, and Gates Fellow. Jarvis Givens is a co-director of a major new research project called The Black Teacher Archive with Imani Perry, PhD, of Princeton University. Givens is also the co-editor of We Dare Say Love: Supporting Achievement in the Education Life of Black Boys. He lives in Roxbury, Massachusetts.

Dr. Kimberly N. Parker is an educator, literacy consultant, and writer based in Boston and holds a steadfast belief in the power of literacy to normalize the high achievement of all students, especially Black, Latinx, and other children of color. Dr. Parker is currently the Director of the Crimson Summer Academy at Harvard University and the president of the Black Educators’ Alliance of Massachusetts.

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Author Talks Committee
State Library of Massachusetts