"A sharp examination of how Black students have consistently overcome institutionalized racism. This book, which will appeal especially to educators and historians, triumphantly rewrites Black students into a history that has ignored them. An eloquently necessary study."
"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
"In School Clothes
, Givens offers a penetrating historical excavation of the ancient tropes and distortions that have for centuries dominated the discourse about black students . . . revealing their wounds and their witness, listening to their voices and insights, laying bare their armor, celebrating their gifts, and composing a liberating cultural narrative that is at once heartbreaking and hopeful . . . and true."
–Sara Lawrence-Lightfoot, author of Balm in Gilead: Journey of a Healer
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&mdsah;from Sunday morning to the first day of class–to help them shine. 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
"Drawing on a range of personal memoirs and a wealth of historical and theoretical knowledge, Givens reveals that Black students experience the classroom as a terrain of battle, a stage, an observatory and a microscope, and a space of nurture, imagination, and freedom-making. And as such, they must dress for the occasion."
–Robin D. G. Kelley, author of Freedom Dreams: The Black Radical Imagination
takes readers 'behind the veil' to gain insights from several generations of Black students. This is a brilliant, well-researched, and cogent study that centers the voices and experiences of Black students in the American educational system. It is a beautiful tribute–and testament–to the power of Black knowledge and resistance."
–Keisha N. Blain, coeditor of the No. 1 New York Times
bestseller Four Hundred Souls
and author of Until I Am Free