Search Past Silence
The Literacy of Young Black Men
David E. Kirkland
Donna E. Alvermann
Teachers College Press
This beautifully written book argues that educators need to understand the social worlds and complex literacy practices of African American males in order to pay the increasing educational debt we owe all youth and break the school-to-prison pipeline. Moving portraits from the lives of six friends bring to life the structural characteristics and qualities of meaning-making practices, particularly practices that reveal the political tensions of defining who gets to be literate and who does not. Key chapters on language, literacy, race, and masculinity examine how the literacies, languages, and identities of these friends are shaped by the silences of societal denial. Ultimately, A Search Past Silence is a passionate call for educators to listen to the silenced voices of Black youth and to re-imagine the concept of being literate in a multicultural democratic society.
David E. Kirkland is an associate professor of English and urban education at NYU Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. He directs the Center for Applied Inclusive Teaching and Learning in Arts and Humanities at the Michigan State University College of Arts and Letters. Kirkland won the 2015 NYU Steinhardt School Daniel E. Griffiths Research Award and the 2019 NCTE Advancement of People of Color Leadership Award.