Black Lives Matter
Philosophical and Historical Perspectives
The Nickel boys (Colson Whitehead), systemic racism, history and memory, American schools, juvenile justice, teaching, learning
This murder of George Floyd by a white policeman this summer ignited a long overdue social and political movement, under the banner of Black Lives Matter. The injustices of policing and incarceration have been spotlighted recently, but the injustices and violence perpetrated overtly and covertly in American schools is an integral component in systemic racism. Teachers, administrators, politicians, school boards, parents, and fellow students bear responsibility for the general failure, refusal, to work through the past, and to recognize the present. This unit is dedicated to doing better. We will approach the history of race in American schooling through the Pulitzer Prize winning novel, *The Nickel boys,* written by Colin Whiteside, that tells the story of a Black teenager sent to a ‘reformatory’ in 1950s Florida. In reading and responding to (each other) this narrative, we will have the opportunity to reflect on the tasks of teaching and learning about this very uncomfortable history. We will question our own roles in this narrative that stretches well beyond the cover of the book, and consider what will be required for each of us, individually, as educators and students, to work through the past.
The killing of Black boys (a curricular unit)
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