Fellows' Presentation, Virtual Event

The Fugitive Life of Black Teaching: A History of Pedagogy and Power

Photo courtesy of Jarvis R. GivensPhoto courtesy of Jarvis R. Givens

Part of the 2020–2021 Fellows' Presentation Series

Lecture by Jarvis R. Givens RI '21

Free and open to the public.

As a Radcliffe fellow, Jarvis Givens completed his first book, Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching (Harvard University Press, 2021). This work explores the subversive history of Black education, focusing particularly on the concealed pedagogical practices of African American teachers. Givens uses the life of Carter G. Woodson (1875–1950)—the groundbreaking historian, founder of Black History Month, and legendary educator under Jim Crow—to frame this story. Interested in more than Woodson himself, however, the book recuperates the networked world of teachers to which he belonged, a world in which educators crafted a pedagogical model to challenge the hostile educational curricula, policies, and political economic forces that undermined their work. Black educators intentionally kept critical aspects of their work away from the public eye. In doing so, they developed what Givens calls a tradition of “fugitive pedagogy”—a theory and practice of Black education in America. Woodson’s life and work are presented as one of the greatest exemplars of this tradition: Woodson’s first teachers were his formerly enslaved uncles; he himself taught for nearly 30 years; and he spent his life partnering with educators, artists, and activists to fight against what he termed “the mis-education of the Negro.” Forged in slavery and embodied by Woodson, this tradition of escape remains essential for teachers and students today. 


Free and open to the public. To view this event online, individuals will need to register via Zoom.

For instructions on how to join, see the How to Attend a Radcliffe Event on Zoom webpage.

After registering, you will receive a confirmation e-mail containing a link and password for this meeting.

Live closed captioning will be available for this webinar.