Jarvis R. Givens at Harvard Book Store
A Collective Memoir
of Black Student Witness
Carter G. Woodson and
the Art of Black Teaching
in conversation with DR. KIM PARKER
February 10, 2023
7:00 PM ET
Harvard Book Store
1256 Massachusetts Ave., Cambridge, MA 02138
This event is free; no tickets are required.
Harvard Book Store and the Harvard Graduate School of Education Gutman Library welcome JARVIS R. GIVENS—associate professor of education and African & African American studies at Harvard University—for a discussion of his books School Clothes: A Collective Memoir of Black Student Witness and Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching. He will be joined in conversation by Dr. KIM PARKER—author of Literacy is Liberation: Working Toward Justice Through Culturally Relevant Teaching.
A Return to In-Person Events
Harvard Book Store is excited to be back to in-person programming. To ensure the safety and comfort of everyone in attendance, the following Covid-19 safety protocols will be in place at all of our Harvard Book Store events until further notice:
- Face coverings are required of all staff and attendees when inside the store. Masks must snugly cover nose and mouth.
About School Clothes
Black students were forced to live and learn on the Black side of the color line for centuries, through the time of slavery, Emancipation, and the Jim Crow era. And for just as long—even through to today—Black students have been seen as a problem and a seemingly troubled population in America’s public imagination.
Through over one hundred firsthand accounts from the nineteenth and twentieth centuries, Professor Jarvis Givens offers a powerful counter-narrative in School Clothes to challenge such dated and prejudiced storylines. He details the educational lives of writers such as Zora Neale Hurston and Ralph Ellison; political leaders like Mary McLeod Bethune, Malcolm X, and Angela Davis; and Black students whose names are largely unknown but who left their marks nonetheless. Givens blends this multitude of individual voices into a single narrative, a collective memoir, to reveal a through line shared across time and circumstance: a story of African American youth learning to battle the violent condemnation of Black life and imposed miseducation meant to quell their resistance.
School Clothes elevates a legacy in which Black students are more than the sum of their suffering. By peeling back the layers of history, Givens unveils in high relief a distinct student body: Black learners shaped not only by their shared vulnerability but also their triumphs, fortitude, and collective strivings.
About Fugitive Pedagogy
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.
Praise for School Clothes
“A treasure of Black student voices about their separate and distinctive experiences with American schooling. With School Clothes, Jarvis Givens has brought to magnificent view the special meaning of schooling in Black America across time and space. 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
"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—from Sunday morning to the first day of class—to help them shine. Jarvis 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
Praise Fugitive Pedagogy
“Fugitive Pedagogy is a brilliant, inspiring, and energizing book that reclaims the narratives of critique and hope that fueled the deep grammar of pedagogical struggle that unfolded in both the experiences and narratives of Black educators in the beginning of the twentieth century and beyond. Written in a discourse that is critical, poetic, and inspiring, Givens not only unearths a hidden history of educational struggle, he also offers educators a resource for rethinking the meaning and purpose of education and pedagogical struggle as tools of enlightenment, struggle, and racial justice.” ―Henry A. Giroux, author of Race, Politics, and Pandemic Pedagogy: Education in a Time of Crisis
“Jarvis Givens’s Fugitive Pedagogy is a brilliant, fascinating, and groundbreaking text. Givens restores Carter G. Woodson, one of the most important educators and intellectuals of the twentieth century, to his rightful place alongside figures like W. E. B. Du Bois and Ida B. Wells. Woodson was unrivaled as a key architect of Black Studies and one of the earliest Black public intellectuals. In this transformative work, Givens rigorously examines critical pedagogy as an essential element in the Black intellectual tradition and, indeed, one situated at the very heart of Black Studies from its beginnings.” ―Imani Perry, author of May We Forever Stand: A History of the Black National Anthem
Walking from the Harvard Square T station: 2 minutes
As you exit the station, reverse your direction and walk east along Mass. Ave. in front of the Cambridge Savings Bank. Cross Dunster St. and proceed along Mass. Ave for three more blocks. You will pass Au Bon Pain, JP Licks, and TD Bank. Harvard Book Store is located at the corner of Mass. Ave. and Plympton St.
Unable to attend a Harvard Book Store author event? You can still pre-order a signed book by one of our visiting authors.
While we can't guarantee fulfillment of a signed book pre-order, our authors are almost always able to sign extra books to fulfill such orders.
Ordering a signed book on harvard.com:
- Add the book to your shopping cart and then click Checkout.
- Specify in Order Comments that you want a signed copy of the book.
- Please note: online orders for signed copies must be placed at least one business day before the event. If you are ordering the day of, please call us instead.
Ordering a signed book by phone:
- Call us at (617) 661-1515 and one of our booksellers will take your order. Specify you'd like a signed copy.
- If you are requesting a personalized inscription and/or requesting your book be shipped, we'll need to take down credit card information. If you are planning to pick up the signed book in the store, you can pay on pick-up.
Can I request a personalized inscription?
Unless otherwise noted, we are happy to take requests for the author to sign your book to a specific person, but we can't guarantee it. If you do get a personalized inscription, the book will be non-returnable. We will require credit card information when you place the order.
Do signed books cost more?
There is no extra fee for a signed book!
Do I have to pick it up in the store, or can you deliver my signed book?
As with all web or phone orders, we can hold your book for in-store pickup, or ship it anywhere in the country.
I am planning to attend an author event. Do I need to pre-order a book?
No need. We'll be selling books at the event, and nearly all of our events include a signing at the end of the talk.
More questions? Give us a call!
Harvard Graduate School of Education Gutman Library
Tote bags and pouches
in a variety of styles,
sizes, and designs, plus mugs, bookmarks, and more!
Shipping & Pickup
We ship anywhere in the U.S. and orders of $75+ ship free via media mail!Learn More »
Noteworthy Signed Books: Join the Club!
Join our Signed First Edition Club (or give a gift subscription) for a signed book of great literary merit, delivered to you monthly.Learn More »