Black Literate Lives : Historical and Contemporary Perspectives book cover
1st Edition

Black Literate Lives
Historical and Contemporary Perspectives

ISBN 9780415958653
Published October 24, 2008 by Routledge
200 Pages

FREE Standard Shipping
USD $56.95

Prices & shipping based on shipping country


Book Description

Black Literate Lives offers an innovative approach to understanding the complex and multi-dimensional perspectives of Black literate lives in the United States. Author Maisha Fisher reinterprets historiographies of Black self-determination and self-reliance to powerfully interrupt stereotypes of African-American literacy practices. The book expands the standard definitions of literacy practices to demonstrate the ways in which 'minority' groups keep their cultures and practices alive in the face of oppression, both inside and outside of schools.

This important addition to critical literacy studies:

-Demonstrates the relationship of an expanded definition of literacy to self-determination and empowerment

-Exposes unexpected sources of Black literate traditions of popular culture and memory

-Reveals how spoken word poetry, open mic events, and everyday cultural performances are vital to an understanding of Black literacy in the 21st century

By centering the voices of students, activists, and community members whose creative labors past and present continue the long tradition of creating cultural forms that restore collective, Black Literate Lives ultimately uncovers memory while illuminating the literate and literary contributions of Black people in America.

Table of Contents

Foreword by Vanessa Siddle Walker

An introduction: Not yet free

Chapter One: Toward a theory of black literate lives

Chapter Two: "I don’t want us to forget the fire": The literacy activism of Gwendolyn Brooks

Chapter Three: Agitating, Educating, and Organizing: The making of revolutionary literacies

Chapter Four: "The song is unfinished": Soldiering in participatory literacy communities

Chapter Five: Catching the Fire: Black teachers as literacy activists in urban public schools

Appendix A: Notes on Methodology

Appendix B: "The 15 Demands of the African American Students' Association" as printed in Black News on December 1, 1969, Volume 1, Number 5

Appendix C: The Assata Shakur Project for Spoken Word/Multicultural Literature

View More



Maisha T. Fisher is Assistant Professor in language, literacy, and culture in the Division of Educational Studies at Emory University.


"Black Literate Lives offers a critical examination of black literary traditions that skillfully counters stereotypes about the values African Americans ascribe to literacy, identifying practices that could have significant implications for teaching and learning."--The Journal of African American History