Black To School With The New Book, “Teaching for Black Lives”: “Every school in the country needs this.”


It has been exhilarating to read the reviews that are steaming in about Teaching for Black Lives, the new book I co-edited with Dr. Dyan Watson and Dr. Wayne Au. Recent reviews include The Washington Post who called the book, “A handbook to help all educators fight racism” and Lily Eskelsen Garcia, president of the National Education Association, the nation’s largest labor union, who wrote, “I consider it a must-read—the kind of book with ideas so interesting, you want to chew them over with others. (Reading group, anyone?) The bonus is the book’s rich, evocative art, which is as intense as the essays.”

At the early book tour stops I have spoken at in Minneapolis and Chicago the reception has been overwhelming—selling out of the copies of the books we came with and engaging in many wonderful discussions with educators and organizers about how to fight for racial justice in education.

I am hearing from educators across the country on social media who are reading the book closely as they prepare to return to the classroom. Teachers from Denver and Philadelphia have organized study groups around Teaching for Black Lives. The editors of the book are lining up book tour stops this school year in Seattle, Maryland, Philadelphia, New Jersey, and in New York City at the Schomburg Library for Research in Black Culture.  One of the things people love about the book is the gorgeous artwork. Black artists from around the country contributed vivid illustrations that bring the essays alive. The beautiful cover illustration by Ekua Holmes has become what I imagine freedom to be when I close my eyes.

DyanWatson_t4BLOur hope is that this book is used both to bring antiracist pedagogy into the classroom and to help build the growing Black Lives Matter at School movement. The BLM at School movement started in Seattle and then became a week of action in Philadelphia during the 2016-2017 school year. Then the movement exploded nationally during the 2017-2018 school year with educators in over twenty cities participating in a week of action for racial justice in the schools from February 5-9.

Check out the below reviews for Teaching for Black Lives. If you’re convinced, order the book, organize a study group, invite the editors of the book to come speak to your campus, join the #BlackLivesMatterAtSchool action during the first week of February, and teach for Black lives every day of the year.

“‘Teaching for Black Lives’ — a handbook to help all educators fight racism.”


“Teaching For Black Lives book presents ideas for empowering marginalized students.”


“Teaching for Black Lives offers a rich array of essays that help build a school-to-justice pipeline.”

TRUTH OUT’S “Progressive Pick”

This book is not just for teachers in the classroom, but also for those of us who 
care about making Black lives matter in the community. It should be required reading for all who care about the future of Black youth.”

—OPAL TOMETI, #BlackLivesMatter co-founder and executive director of the Black Alliance for Just Immigration


This book is for all the educators who want to look at what they are teaching—and how they are teaching it—to help students figure out this era of upheaval… The writers are educators, reporters, authors, and activists. Their eloquence and passion force us to challenge our assumptions about other people and ourselves. To me, that’s the very best kind of reading.

LILY ESKELSEN GARCIA, president of the National Education Association

Teaching for Black Lives … is the one you need.”

KELLY WICKHAM HURST, from her article for the Medium, “Teachers Need to Prepare for the 2018–19 School Year. Here’s How.”

“In this edited volume, we learn that Black Lives Matter is not just a rallying cry in the movement against police abuse and violence, but it is also a critical framework for understanding the persistent attacks on public education. As public schools face withering attacks on the national, state, and local level, this important collection edited by Watson, Hagopian, and Au will educate, inspire, and rally those in the struggle for education justice. From students, to educators, to a public that cares about public education, this book is a must- read to know the issues at stake and the strategies necessary to win.”

—KEEANGA-YAMAHTTA TAYLOR, Professor of African American Studies at Princeton University and author of From #BlackLivesMatter to Black Liberation


“This is essential. Every school in the country needs this. No book better unpacks and gives color to the modern movement we’re in than this.”

—SHAUN KING, activist and journalist

“I love Teaching for Black Lives because it’s a bible to understanding both the contributions of Black and Brown people to America as well as the struggles and chains of institutional racism.”

—MICHAEL BENNETT, author of Things That Make White People Uncomfortable

“Every teacher in America needs to pick up this book.”

—LINDA SARSOUR, national co-chair of the Women’s March and co-founder of MPower Change

Teaching for Black Lives is a moral lifeline for all educators looking to rehumanize our schools and society through education, love, and action.”

—AWO OKAIKOR ARYEE-PRICE, educator and national co-organizer of Black Lives Matter at School Week of Action

Richie Pope

“Again, the folks at Rethinking Schools have stepped out to produce a timely volume that should become a central staple in how we understand race and the radical imaginary in K–12 classrooms.”

—DAVID STOVALL, Professor of African American Studies and Educational Policy Studies, University of Illinois at Chicago

“Anyone who teaches Black students or has a Black child in school must read this book.”

—DARNELL M. HUNT, Dean of Social Sciences and Professor of Sociology and African American Studies at UCLA

Teaching For Black Lives is not just a recommendation, but a liberating ultimatum.”

Busted Pencils Podcast

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