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Abolitionist Teaching and the Future of Our Schools
A conversation with Bettina Love, Gholdy Muhammad, Dena Simmons and Brian Jones about abolitionist teaching and antiracist education.
Brian Jones: “Are we talking about abolishing school?”

Bettina Love: “Yeah! That’s exactly what we’re talking about....It’s not a radical thing to want to be seen as fully human....We’re trying to abolish, eradicate the conditions that make it possible to treat children like this in schools.”

What would freedom look like in our schools?

How can abolitionist educators make the most of this moment to fight for humane, liberatory, anti-racist schooling for black youth and for all youth?

The coronavirus pandemic has transformed the US education system overnight. The antiracist rebellion in the streets has shown a light on the deep racial inequality in America.

Educators and activists who have nurtured radical dreams for public schools now face an unprecedented moment of change, and the challenge of trying to teach and organize online in the midst of unfolding crises.

Scholar and author Bettina Love’s concept of abolitionist teaching is about adopting the radical stance of the movement that ultimately overthrew slavery, but persisted and insisted on freedom long before that victory.

About the Speakers

Bettina L. Love is an award-winning author and the Athletic Association Endowed Professor at University of Georgia. She is the author of We Want To Do More Than Survive: Abolitionist Teaching and the Pursuit of Educational Freedom and Hip Hop’s Li’l Sistas Speak: Negotiating Hip Hop Identities and Politics in the New South.

Get a copy of Bettina Love’s We Want to Do More Than Survive.

Dr. Gholnecsar (Gholdy) Muhammad is an Associate Professor of Language and Literacy at Georgia State University. She also serves as the director of the GSU Urban Literacy Clinic. Dr. Muhammad’s scholarship has appeared in leading educational journals and books. Some of her recognitions include the 2014 recipient of the National Council of Teachers of English, Promising New Researcher Award, the 2016 NCTE Janet Emig Award, the 2017 GSU Urban Education Research Award and the 2018 UIC College of Education Researcher of the Year. She is the author of Cultivating Genius: An Equity Model for Culturally and Historically Responsive Literacy.

Dena Simmons, Ed.D., is an activist, educator, and student of life from the Bronx, New York. She is the Assistant Director of the Yale Center for Emotional Intelligence and an Associate Research Scientist at the Yale Child Study Center. She writes and speaks nationally about social justice and culturally responsive and sustaining pedagogy as well as creating emotionally intelligent and safe classrooms within the context of equity and liberation. She is the author of the forthcoming book, White Rules for Black People (St. Martin’s Press, 2021).

Brian Jones is the Associate Director of Education at the Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture. He writes about black education history and politics.

Co-Sponsors

Haymarket Books is an independent, radical, non-profit publisher. The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. All money we take in goes directly to support our project of sharing ideas for changing the world — a project has never been more necessary or more urgent. We need your help to continue to do the work.

While all of Haymarket Books’ events are freely available, they ask that those who are able make a solidarity donation in support of our continuing to do this important work.

The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture in Harlem is one of the world’s leading cultural institutions devoted to the research, preservation, and exhibition of materials focused on African American, African Diaspora, and African experiences. As a research division of The New York Public Library, the Schomburg Center features diverse programming and collections spanning over 11 million items that illuminate the richness of global Black history, arts, and culture.



Tipping Points would like to thank Haymarket Books and The Schomburg Center for Research in Black Culture for their permission to republish this video.