On Sunday at the Baltimore Book Festival, OSI-Baltimore hosted a session called “Literature for Social Justice,” which focused largely on ways Black girls are criminalized in schools.
OSI Advisory Board member Alicia Wilson welcomed the audience to the Literary Salon stage and introduced poet, educator, and 2015 OSI Community Fellow Brion Gill, author of a recent book of poetry, With My Head Unbowed. Gill performed two poems from the book and circulated a petition to establish a Black arts and entertainment district on Pennsylvania Avenue.
Next Karen Webber, director of OSI’s Education and Youth Development program, moderated and participated in a panel with Tara Huffman, director of OSI’s Criminal and Juvenile Justice program, and Monique Morris, scholar, 2012 Soros Justice Fellow, and author of Pushout: The Criminalization of Black Girls in Schools. The panelists talked about the many ways that teachers and others perceive girls – as young as toddlers – as older, more disrespectful, and more defiant than they are, when compared to white girls, and the impact this has on their education.
The panelists also discussed books that had inspired them in their work, including The New Jim Crow, by Michelle Alexander, Sister Outsider, by Audre Lorde, and For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, by Ntozake Shange. All of these books, along with Gill’s and and Morris’s books, and others that OSI staff cite as inspirations, are included in OSI’s Social Justice Reading List, which you can download here or read below.
Social Justice Reading List
With My Head Unbowed, Brion Gill (2015 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow)
Pushout: the Criminalization of Girls in Schools, Monique Morris (2012 Soros Justice Fellow)
Sister Outsider, Audre Lorde
For Colored Girls Who Have Considered Suicide/When the Rainbow Is Enuf, Ntozake Shange
The New Jim Crow, Michelle Alexander (2005 Soros Justice Fellow)
Just Mercy, Bryan Stevenson (Open Society Foundations US Programs Board Member)
Between the World and Me, Ta-Nehisi Coates
On the Courthouse Lawn, Sherrilyn Ifill (Open Society Foundations Global Board Member)
Savage Inequalities, Jonathan Kozol
The Black Book, Dayvon Love and Lawrence Grandpre
Not in My Neighborhood, Antero Pietela
What I Learned in the Midst of Kaos: The Making of an Ubuntu Teacher, LaMarr Shields (2016 OSI Community Fellow) and Marina V. Gilmore
Lessons of Redemption, Kevin Shird (OSI-Baltimore Leadership Council Member)
Knocking the Hustle, Lester Spence
Black Seeds, Tariq Toure
Young adult/children’s books:
The Village Bully, Maria Broom (2004 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow)
Refugee, Alan Gratz
Khalil’s Way, David Miller (1999 OSI-Baltimore Community Fellow)
Brooklyn’s Finest: The Greene Family Farm, David Miller (1999 OSI Community Fellow)
Ghost Boys, Jewell Parker Rhodes