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Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues: Education for the Liberation of Black and Brown Girls

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A groundbreaking and visionary call to action on educating and supporting girls of color, from the highly acclaimed author of Pushout

"Monique Morris is a personal shero of mine and a respected expert in this space."
—Ayanna Pressley, U.S. congresswoman and the first woman of color elected to Boston's city council

Wise Black women have known for centuries that the blues have been a platform for truth-telling, an underground musical railroad to survival, and an essential form of resistance, healing, and learning. In this “powerful call to action” (Rethinking Schools), leading advocate Monique W. Morris invokes the spirit of the blues to articulate a radically healing and empowering pedagogy for Black and Brown girls. Morris describes with candor and love what it looks like to meet the complex needs of girls on the margins.

Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues is a “vital, generous, and sensitively reasoned argument for how we might transform American schools to better educate Black and Brown girls” (San Francisco Chronicle). Morris brings together research and real life in this chorus of interviews, case studies, and the testimonies of remarkable people who work successfully with girls of color. The result is this radiant guide to moving away from punishment, trauma, and discrimination toward safety, justice, and genuine community in our schools.

ISBN-13: 9781620977262

Media Type: Paperback

Publisher: New Press The

Publication Date: 08-02-2022

Pages: 224

Product Dimensions: 5.40(w) x 8.40(h) x 0.80(d)

Monique W. Morris, president/CEO of Grantmakers for Girls of Color and co-founder of the National Black Women’s Justice Institute, is the author of several books, including Pushout; Black Stats; Sing a Rhythm, Dance a Blues; and Charisma’s Turn (all from The New Press). Her work has been featured by NPR, the New York Times, MSNBC, Essence, The Atlantic, TED, the Washington Post, Education Week, and others. She lives in New York.

Table of Contents

Foreword Bettina L. Love xiii

Prelude 1

Introduction 3

Interlude: "You Have to Be Compassionate" 13

Track 1 Fit to Wear a Crown 17

Interlude: "They Are Survivors" 39

Track 2 God Bless the Child That's Got Her Own 43

Interlude: "I Want a Badass Girl" 83

Track 3 Cell Bound Blues 87

Interlude: "Are We Actually Trying to Be Here for Young People?" 107

Track 4 Nobody Knows My Name 111

Interlude: "Dance Is My Spirit Language" 139

Track 5 Shake Hands with the Devil, Make Him Crawl in the Sand 143

Interlude: "Listen to Them" 163

Track 6 "Today I'm with You … Ain't That Some Love" 165

Coda 179

Acknowledgments 183

Notes 187