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McKenzie Kennedy, who prefers the pronouns she and her according to her email signature, serves as the Secondary Social Studies Curriculum Coordinator in the Des Moines Public Schools.

She sent an email to well over 100 contacts letting them know if their school is currently planning for a Black Lives Matter (BLM) Week of Action, or if they’re interested in doing one, to see the resources that came from Rethinking Schools.

“I look forward to hearing about the plans buildings put together and seeing them during that week,” Kennedy wrote.

The email also had a couple of “resources” teachers were encouraged to examine.

One is called “Teaching For Black Lives.”

“Black students’ minds and bodies are under attack. We’re fighting back,” it states.

The book grows “directly out of the movement for Black lives.”

“We recognize that anti-black racism constructs black people, and blackness generally, as not counting as human life,” the website states.

Here are the book’s table of contents:

Section 1: Making Black Lives Matter in Our Schools

Black Students’ Lives Matter

Building the school-to-justice pipeline

By the editors of Rethinking Schools

How One Elementary School Sparked a Citywide Movement to Make Black Students’ Lives Matter

By Wayne Au and Jesse Hagopian

Student Athletes Kneel to Level the Playing Field

By Jesse Hagopian

Happening Yesterday, Happened Tomorrow

Teaching the ongoing murders of Black men

By Renée Watson

Space for Young Black Women

An interview with Candice Valenzuela

By Jody Sokolower

Trayvon Martin and My Students

Writing toward justice

By Linda Christensen

Two Sets of Notes

By MK Asante

Taking the Fight Against White Supremacy into Schools

By Adam Sanchez

A Vision for Black Lives

Policy demands for Black power, freedom, and justice

By the Movement for Black Lives coalition

Section 2: Enslavement, Civil Rights, and Black Liberation

The Color Line

How white elites sought to divide and conquer in the American colonies

By Bill Bigelow

Presidents and Slaves Helping students find the truth

By Bob Peterson

When Black Lives Mattered: Why Teach Reconstruction

By Adam Sanchez

Reconstructing the South

By Bill Bigelow

Medical Apartheid Teaching the Tuskegee Syphilis Study

By Gretchen Kraig-Turner

Beyond Just a Cells Unit

What my science students learned from the story of Henrietta Lacks

By Gretchen Kraig-Turner

Teaching SNCC

The organization at the heart of the civil rights revolution

By Adam Sanchez

Claiming and Teaching the 1963 March on Washington

By Bill Fletcher Jr.

Reflections of a “Deseg Baby”

By Linda Mizell

What We Don’t Learn About the Black Panther Party — but Should

By Adam Sanchez and Jesse Hagopian

COINTELPRO Teaching the FBI’s war on the Black freedom movement

By Ursula Wolfe-Rocca

Section 3: Gentrification, Displacement, and Anti-Blackness

Burned Out of Homes and History

Unearthing the silenced voices of the Tulsa Race Riot

By Linda Christensen

“The Most Gentrified City of the Century”

By Becky HenkleBerry and Jeff Waters

What Do You Mean When You Say Urban? 

Speaking honestly about race and students

By Dyan Watson

Vacancies to Fill

Considering desire in the past and future of Chicago’s vacant schools

By Eve L. Ewing

Plotting Inequalities, Building Resistance

By Bridget Brew, Crystal Proctor, and Adam Renner

Bearing Witness Through Poetry

By Renée Watson

Shock-Doctrine Schooling in Haiti Neoliberalism off the Richter scale

By Jesse Hagopian

Lead Poisoning

Bringing social justice to chemistry

By Karen Zaccor

Section 4: Discipline, the Schools-to-Prison Pipeline, and Mass Incarceration

Jailing Our Minds

By Abbie Cohen

Schools and the New Jim Crow

An interview with Michelle Alexander

By Jody Sokolower

Racial Justice Is Not a Choice

White supremacy, high-stakes testing, and the punishment of Black and Brown students

By Wayne Au

How K-12 Schools Push Out Black Girls

An interview with Monique W. Morris

By Kate Stoltzfus

Haniyah’s Story

By Haniyah Muhammad

Teaching Haniyah

By Jody Sokolower

Teaching the Prison-Industrial Complex

By Aparna Lakshmi

Restorative Justice What it is and is not

By the editors of Rethinking Schools

Baby Steps Toward Restorative Justice

By Linea King


Section 5: Teaching Blackness, Loving Blackness, and Exploring Identity

A Talk to Teachers

By James Baldwin

Black Like Me

By Renée Watson

Dear White Teacher

By Chrysanthius Lathan

Black Boys in White Spaces One mom’s reflection

By Dyan Watson

Raised by Women

Celebrating our homes

By Linda Christensen

Ode to the Only Black Kid in the Class

By Clint Smith

#MeToo and The Color Purple

By Linda Christensen

Queering Black History and Getting Free

By Dominique Hazzard

Rethinking Islamophobia Combating bigotry by raising the voices of Black Muslims

By Alison Kysia

Rethinking Identity Afro-Mexican history

By Michelle Nicola

Brown Kids Can’t Be in Our Club

Teaching 6-year-olds about skin color, race, culture, and respect

By Rita Tenorio

A Message from a Black Mom to Her Son

By Dyan Watson

Black Is Beautiful

By Kara Hinderlie

Another book, “Teaching a People’s History of Abolition and the Civil War,” encourages students to “take a critical look” at the “popular narrative that centers Abraham Lincoln as the Great Emancipator and ignores the resistance of abolitionists and enslaved people.”

In the “introduction” posted online, Adam Sanchez writes:

“What role have white people played in maintaining and fighting black oppression?”

It continues…

“Today, hate crimes against black people and other people of color continue. Police regularly murder black citizens with impunity.”

Author: Jacob Hall


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