“You Can Still Fight”: The Black Radical Tradition, Healing, and Literacies | LEARN Marginal Syllabus

June 07, 2021
By Christina Cantrill

‘Curriculum design may thus be centered organically in the rich literate lives and social contexts of the students themselves, rather than merely being manufactured for teachers and transmitted into classrooms.’

In our June reading for LEARN: Marginal Syllabus, we’ll annotate “‘You Can Still Fight’: The Black Radical Tradition, Healing, and Literacies,” the editor’s introduction to the February 2021 edition of the journal Research in the Teaching of English. Co-authors Gwendolyn Baxley, Yolanda Sealy-Ruiz, Christopher R. Rogers, Gerald Campano, Ebony Elizabeth Thomas and Amy Stornaiuolo preview the issue by making explicit connections among the articles about the need for teachers to resist oppression by joining a struggle for change.

This is the fourth and final reading from the Spring 2021 LEARN Marginal Syllabus co-developed with the National Writing Project (NWP) and the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE) with support from Hypothesis. Each month, March through June, we invite educators to collaboratively read and discuss an article published by NCTE that investigates the intersection of literacy and equity. Each reading with related author discussion will go “live” at the beginning of the month.

This month’s reading and author discussion

Click on the article link to read and annotate:

“You Can Still Fight”: The Black Radical Tradition, Healing, and Literacies

This month, we invite you to read this editor’s introduction to an issue of Research in the Teaching of English and consider connections among the issue’s authors, articles, and the present cultural moment to envision “worldmaking possibilities of literacies steeped in rich cultural traditions of resistance.” The authors begin by referencing the television series Lovecraft Country to connect acts of resistance with the Black Radical Tradition of naming and disrupting inequitable systems. Written in the days prior to the 2020 presidential election, amidst dual public health and racial justice pandemics, the article’s brevity belies its provocative power. Reading the article, now, offered our team a chance to reconnect with co-author Christopher R. Rogers for a conversation in which he reflected on social activism, art and poetry, his passion for literacy, and his formative experiences as a student and teacher. We hope readers appreciate the need for responsive curriculum design which the articles deems necessary given how “struggles for change will never cease.” We also hope viewers of our conversation with Rogers benefit from his reflection on the themes of a journal issue as part of a broader “poetic project” about resistance and freedom.

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