Posts Tagged ‘the national memorial for peace and justice’

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Black History Month

February 8, 2021

Over the past two weeks I’ve been considering what to include on the blog to recognize Black History Month. I don’t want what I offer to be just for this month but something that can be for every month. Like excellent arts education should be fostered every day in every classroom, black history should be part of our everyday education. One of the questions I’ve asked myself: how do I, a white woman living in a predominantly white state, avoid common errors that white people make when attempting to provide educational resources that support and recognize black and brown people? I’ve been reading many books and articles, checking websites and listening to podcasts to help open my mind, help me better understand, and move out of my comfort zone. I’ve stopped bashing myself over the head about ‘getting it’ and moved to realizing that I need to be patient with myself because the unlearning necessary will take time and its most likely not a place I’ll reach – my learning will be ongoing.

So, what can I offer you at this time and share with you, the Maine Arts Ed blog readers? Some of the educational resources that I access regularly and some of what I’ve read recently. Places I turn to that pushes on my thinking, sometimes making me uncomfortable. I invite you to share what you’ve been learning by commenting at the bottom of this blog post or by emailing me at meartsed@gmail.com.

Credit: Black History-Shenandoah University

PODCASTS

  • Leading Equity – Sheldon L. Eakins, Ph.D. is an accomplished K-12 educator and administrator and provides the podcast. He has taught at the elementary, middle, and high school levels during his career in the states of Florida, Louisiana and in St. Croix, US Virgin Islands.  Dr. Eakins also served several years as a school principal in the states of Louisiana and Oregon. His most recent podcast was an interview with Stephanie Gates and is called How to Combat Colorism in the Classroom with Ms. Stephanie Gates. Dr. Eakins faces challenging topics head on and helps us move to a helicopter view as well as down in the weeds.
  • The Cult of Pedagogy – Jennifer Gonzalez is the Editor in Chief and works with a group of thoughtful and knowledgeable individuals to provide the podcast. Jennifer taught middle school language arts in the D.C. area and in Kentucky. She provides the podcast to support teachers through a community approach. The Cult of Pedagogy website includes an overview of podcasts by category. I suggest that you go to the category called ‘Hot Topics’. Jennifer interviewed Dr. Sheldon Eakins for one called Why White Students Need Multicultural and Social Justice Education. You’ll see a variety of ‘hot topics’ there including one called Talking about Race in School: An Interview with Jose Vilson.

RESOURCES ONLINE

  • Americans Who Tell the TruthMaine artist, Rob Shetterly’s portraits and narratives highlight citizens who courageously address issues of social, environmental, and economic fairness. Paintings of ‘truth tellers’, their stories, and what they stood and still stand for. The paintings communicate all by themselves.
  • Natasha Mayers – Activist artist from Maine and one of Rob Shetterly’s portraits. See film trailer, an Un-Still Life created by Maine film makers Anita Clearfield and Geoffrey Leighton. Website will include many resources in the near future. (blog post later this week with film premiere info)
  • Edutopia – Teaching Black History in Culturally Responsive Ways written by Rann Miller. In this article Rann discusses how Black History is American history, and it should be taught throughout the year across the curriculum—not confined to a single month.
  • Learning for Justice recently changed their name from Teaching Tolerance. Learning for Justice seeks to uphold the mission of the Southern Poverty Law Center: to be a catalyst for racial justice in the South and beyond, working in partnership with communities to dismantle white supremacy, strengthen intersectional movements and advance the human rights of all people. Visit their site to sign up for their weekly emails and access many free resources for K-high school including downloadable posters that will inspire teachers and learners. They also publish a magazine, this springs edition White Supremacy in Education.
Learn more at https://www.learningforjustice.org/magazine/black-lives-matter-week-of-action.
  • The Art of Education PodcastsCelebrating Black History Month through Art, 17 Black Artists to Know, 5 Black Female Artists You (and Your Students!) Should Know, Where Does Black History Month Stand in the Art room?, 4 Artists that Show Black Lives Matter.
  • Anti-Racism Daily – Since June 3, the Anti-Racism Daily has been sending one email a day pairing current events with historical context and personal reflections on how racism persists in the U.S. (and around the world). You can subscribe and receive an email daily or the weekly archive. The daily information is provided at no cost and was created by Nicole Cardoza. You can subscribe on the website.
  • Teaching for Change – Their website helps connect to real world issues and encourage students and teachers to question and re-think the world inside and outside their classrooms, build a more equitable, multicultural society, and become active global citizens.
  • Inspired Teaching – They provide innovative professional learning programs and help teachers build their practice to engage their students as empathetic, critical thinkers. They have several programs and resources that you can access on their website.
  • Indigo Arts Alliance – Portland, ME and cultivating the artistic development of people of African descent. Mission: to build global connections by bringing together Black and Brown artists from diverse backgrounds to engage in their creative process with an opportunity to serve as both mentors and mentees. An integral aspect of the Indigo vision is to provide Maine based artists of African descent access to a broader range of practicing artists of color from around the world. Website.
  • Holocaust and Human Rights Center – Augusta, ME. One of the educational resources that they have available on their website is called Decision Making in Times of Injustice. A presentation filled with facts to help support educators in their teaching of the injustices in the world.
Located in Montgomery, Alabama

BOOKS

  • Black Like Me written by John Howard Griffin was written over 60 years ago. Griffin embarked on an experiment. He darkened his white skin to become black and traveled through the south, from New Orleans to Atlanta. He wrote the book to share his stories traveling as a ‘black man’ which ended up selling ten million copies and became a modern classic. I was able to purchase a used copy and I was mesmerized. “Black Like Me disabused the idea that minorities were acting out of paranoia,” says Gerald Early, a black scholar at Washington University and editor of Lure and Loathing: Essays on Race, Identity, and the Ambivalence of Assimilation. There was this idea that black people said certain things about racism, and one rather expected them to say these things. Griffin revealed that what they were saying was true. It took someone from outside coming in to do that. And what he went through gave the book a remarkable sincerity.” READ MORE about the book in a Smithsonian Magazine article from 2011.
  • Waking Up White: and Finding Myself in the Story of Race written by Debby Irving. The author tells her true story growing up in a somewhat sheltered upper middle class suburban childhood in Winchester, Massachusetts. Her career focuses on working in nearby Boston in performance art and community based non-profits where she learned that her best efforts were actually doing more harm than good. Her persistence provided lessons along the way and a racial understanding and her white privilege revealed her past.
  • Just Mercy: A Story of Justice and Redemption written by Bryan Stevenson. A true story (made into a movie) about the inequities in the justice system. Just out of law school Mr. Stevenson moved to Alabama and established the Equal Justice Initiative. He represented the poorest and most marginalized people in the country: those suffering from excessive or unfair sentences, or facing the death penalty. The stories of the people he represented provides a clear picture of the inequities. In addition to writing this book Bryan Stevenson and a small group of lawyers spent years immersing themselves in archives and county libraries to document thousands of lynchings. From their research a sculpture was created called the National Memorial for Peace and Justice and installed in Montgomery, Alabama. It is the nation’s first memorial dedicated to the legacy of enslaved Black people, people terrorized by lynching, African Americans humiliated by racial segregation and Jim Crow, and people of color burdened with contemporary presumptions of guilt and police violence.

In addition to the resources included above on June 8, 2020 I created a blog post called Social Justice Resources that includes nearly 50 links to a plethora of resources. Included are books for young children, middle school, and young adults along with many other resources.

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