“No sense of identity” and “menaced by a lack of vision” (James Baldwin)

James Baldwin was born on August 2, 1924, which happens to be the same year my grandmother was born. It is strange to think of them being in the same age cohort. That is a rumination for another day! If you haven’t seen I Am Not Your Negro, do that as soon as you can.Continue reading ““No sense of identity” and “menaced by a lack of vision” (James Baldwin)”

Myles Horton: Ally, accomplice, disruptor

Today is the birthday of Myles Horton, who founded the Highlander Folk School (now called The Highlander Center) in Tenn. Still the site of training for organizers and activists of all ages, Highlander was heavily involved in labor rights organizing and in the the civil rights work in the 50’s and 60’s. The Highlander FolkContinue reading “Myles Horton: Ally, accomplice, disruptor”

“People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them” (James Baldwin)

One of the things I am proudest of for this spring semester is that I was able to get students interested in history…the history that isn’t often told in school, to be specific. The first session of my Social Movement/Social Change class happened on January 13, a week after the events at the Capitol. IContinue reading ““People are trapped in history and history is trapped in them” (James Baldwin)”

“Joy is an act of resistance” (and into every life a little RAIN must fall)

In 2020 I happened upon a group called the Resistance Revival Chorus and they have been on steady repeat in my playlists ever since. At the end of one of their songs, they share that the poet Toi Derricotte says “Joy is an act of resistance”. I have said that many times since then, andContinue reading ““Joy is an act of resistance” (and into every life a little RAIN must fall)”

“I didn’t try to register for you”: The power and strength of Fannie Lou Hamer

I can’t remember how old I was when I learned about the life and work of Fannie Lou Hamer, but I know I was older than I should have been. I find that with my students too; while a few of them have heard her name, most have not. In my Social Movement and SocialContinue reading ““I didn’t try to register for you”: The power and strength of Fannie Lou Hamer”

Centering other voices: The US and the 4th of July

This semester I am teaching a class called Social Movement and Social Change. It is the first time I have taught this course, though I had a bit of trial run last semester when I incorporated the themes of resistance in my section of the First Year Seminar. There are 25 students in class, aContinue reading “Centering other voices: The US and the 4th of July”

Say their names! Won’t you please say their names?

“Hell you talmbout” is a 2015 protest song by the artist Janelle Monae and other members of her Wondaland group. The first time I heard this I was so overcome I really couldn’t speak. The rhythm of the song and the power of the words held me captive. I played it for my students inContinue reading “Say their names! Won’t you please say their names?”