Tag Archives: Purge

The Purge – Credits

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The Purge – Credit

The Purge, was really a random project that came about as I finally began my much needed Christmas Vacation. It was the first time I’ve had to reflect in a while. In retrospect, I’ve had an amazing 2013. The Purge was my way of bringing all of the things that I experienced this (that) year to a close. And that wouldn’t be complete without thanking everyone who hasn’t been thanked before.

Family – Thank you for baking me in the oven that was your love and guidance. I’m forever yours no matter where I rest my head.

Viewers and Readers – Thank you. It would be more awkward than it already is if I was writing this and it still only reached my eyes. Thank you for returning when you do and sharing when you must. I was feeling myself and decide to plan an interesting 2014 for us – hopefully you’ll enjoy.

Inspirations/Guides – ET Thomas: Mobile Inspiration, first preacher I’ve listened to, and Jullien Gordon, The Innerviewer/SideHustla/New Year Goal Planner. Thank you both for being amazing inspirations to me. You preach excellence and practice it everyday. I’m grateful to even be able to learn from your teachings. (Word to the wise – I save their YouTube videos as audio and pump it into your ears in the mornings and during workouts.)

YouthBuild Crew – To my homies back at YouthBuild. Thank you for supporting everything I breathe on. You guys are truly the best to every do it.


Frat – Zeta Rho (ZPDC) and more specifically my line brothers from S.U.P.R.E.M.A.C.Y. Thank y’all for just making me who I am, and supporting me no matter what. I gain so much confidence in myself because of what we’ve been through. And it gives me so much pride to know that y’all still inspire me 9 years into the game. I love yall.

Roommates – New and old. Thank you for putting me out, taking me in, sharing laughs, and a few screams, cleaning up after me, putting up with my mad scientistness, marveling at my diet or lack there of, and just giving me the space to live this crazy journey.

Professors – Thank you for letting me go crazy with my assignments. Thank you for opening up your office hours when I bust in like I know everything. Thank you for offering alternatives when I get mad and threaten mutiny, thank you for pushing the rigor this year, and thank you for mentoring me in your offices when I know time is tight.

Fellow New York City Teaching Fellows – Thank you for letting me learn from you this year, sharing those difficult to share ideas and thoughts, listening to my input, and thinking I dress well. Most of all thank you for doing what you do everyday. A lot of times I don’t know where I find the energy to keep going. But it always helps when I remember that y’all are finding the energy each day yourselves and making it happen no matter where we vary.

Coaches/Co-Teachers/Co-Workers/ – Thank you to everyone on our amazing staff. It’s way too difficult for me to express the gratitude that is truly deserved to you guys. What we do is hard… but I honestly can’t see myself doing it with a more capable and well put together staff. Thank you for doing you so well that it allows me to do me!

NYC – Thank you for being this place of abundant energy. You feed my dreams of crazy and pump me full of your never-ending force that I pull from your streets even at 3:50am. I often walk home in awe that I’m here. Thank you for delivering the exponential growth you promised.

Black Scholars – Dr. Boyce Watkins and Dr. Ivory Toldson – Thank you for being there and offering scholarly advice to this random self-dubbed academic in random Brooklyn that hits you up at 3am on facebook. I appreciate your knowledge and am grateful for the contributions you’re making to the national conversations about Black and Brown communities. No matter where I fall in this continuum – I hope to be as accessible to those who seek my knowledge as you all have been with me. Dr. Juwanza Kunjufu – thank you for being a stellar Black Education Scholar. Your wisdom is abundant and overlooked. But I love the intimate connection it gives the people who know your work.


Art of War Team – WE DID IT Y’all!! Because of y’all we were able to have our first event and raise over $3,000 for the Creative Dreamer scholarship. We are a community of givers and carers and that is truly a beautiful blessing to bask in. The People are pleased!

Peers – Jerrell, Jeshaune, Aaron, Brandon, Hosbey, Carlos, Jamar, Seye, James, Seven – some of y’all may know me. Some of yall may not. Your passion and creativity for what you do gives me no excuses to not put the same passion and effort into what I try to do. Thank you for being examples of intelligence, integrity, hard work, and ingenuity that we can all follow. *Respect*

Up n Comings – Sean, Sean, Lloyd, Maurice, Derrick, Antoine, etc – Keep doing your thing! It makes me so happy to see and hear about you guys in your element. Here is to continued success and to more partnerships in the future!

Paulie – Thank you for being my gratitude accountability partner. You jumped on board out the blue, and hold me to it even when I lapse. With your help I was able to finish 2013 feeling strong, and more appreciative for my encounters and accomplishments.

Mishara – Thank you for being the beautiful educated sistah I turn to when I need book advice, or just to learn from. I’m so glad I get to learn from your intelligence and grace each day >pressure< When are you guesting!? >pressure<

Students – Thank you for being the mirror in which I’m able to gauge my own growth. I love you all and hope that one day you’ll be able to read this and see a side of your teacher that I’ve never been able to share. My hope is that this helps me become a better me to help you become the best you’s.

Paladin – Thank you for being crazily determined. This was never in the plan, but you’re making it into what it wants to be, and for that I commend you. Always remember why you started this.

2014 is upon us, which means it is upon us to do it better than we’ve ever done it before. – Paladin 2013




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The Purge – Heart

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The Purge – Heart

If I know you, I love you

(This goes out to all the people who believe in me, and have helped me in any way to becoming the person I am today.)

I’m in the lab now. I started this (project) at 12:30am, and its 4:30 now, and I’m nowhere near done. This all began because I was inspired to write my roommate a letter telling her that I appreciate her. In the fog of war, I’ve been stupid congested. I feel things, but don’t express them in the moment because I’m usually processing something unrelated in the same moment that is taking my energy. In that way, I guess I am a bit robotic as a few people have alluded. To them I say, let me live – I bring difference to this life and my interactions. I actually do care quite a bit about people, but the messaging gets lost in the fray.

To everyone I care about family, friends, co-workers, and everyone else I know…

I care about you all – when I talk to you, think about you, or even when I don’t think about you, I’m always hoping that positivity is coming your way. The weird thing about my life is I’m always finding connections between what I experience and what I’m reading.


When I was reading Dr. Kunjufu’s Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys, he mentions that men are raised from birth to disconnect from their emotions. And that communication was a skill set that has been historically linked to women. I love Dr. Kunjufu’s work. Oddly enough his publishing house is located close to where I grew up in Chicago. I love that his books bring words to many of the things I’ve witnessed, thought, and experienced in my life. They give me the language in which I am able to communicate and think critically about my life and role as teacher, student, and researcher.

I didn’t initially believe or connect with his words. Dr. Kunjufu writes in a way that is too matter of fact for me. However, like Basquiat, I digest his thoughts and create my own interpretation for the world I touch. (Interpretation is actually a powerful concept I’ve been playing with in my head ever since I began teaching. It’s liberating to be exposed to something, think about that experience, and in return create whatever product my mind deems acceptable to produce. <<– Jargon trash)


In reflection, the book really does speak to my experiences right now. I absolutely know that I don’t communicate how I feel to the people in my life nearly as much as I should! For that I apologize. I really do appreciate you! And want to take this time to thank you for everything that you’ve done for me. Whether it’s cleaning the bathroom, picking up the slack in a class, calling me when I forget to call you first, sending me an interesting article to read, starting a Gay and Straight Alliance at my school, whatever…

“Much debate has taken place over the last decade concerning the significance of biological and sociological factors contributing to male development. Physiologically, males have X and Y-chromosomes, while females have X-chromosomes. Males possess the hormone testosterone while the female hormone is estrogen. The chemical make-up of the male body is 40 percent muscle, 15 percent fat; a woman’s is 23 percent muscle and 25 percent fat. These differences have given some researchers the rationale for explaining why men are more aggressive and excel in math, while women are passive and excel in communication. ” (17)

The whole time I was reading I remember going back and forth between accepting statements in the book and rejecting others. For example, I don’t think the opposite of aggression is passivity. (Well, in reflection I guess the opposite is passivity, but I don’t think in absence of one you must embody the other.) I think there is immense power to those that are able to identify and negotiate the usefulness of the grey areas that lie between everything.

SkoolHaze Thanks Yo

I’m getting lost in the details. But overall, thank you for being you! You being you is helping me be me. I try to say thank you in the moment, but I often leave situations without showing my gratitude for the times when you have gone out of your way to show love, support, and camaraderie. This whole project germinated from the need to sit down, and show you what I was thinking about you. So thank you.



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The Purge – Why?

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The Purge – Why?

Sometimes I don’t even know what is what in this world. Trying to run this site is a labor! My body and mind would much rather be sleep, watching movies, reading books, finally learning to cook or sew, or maybe even seeing what’s on tv for a change.

It’s coming up on the two-year mark since SkoolHaze began. I can remember a time when I dreamed about having a website. Having something that was my own. Something where I could just do whatever the hell I wanted to do. Ownership and having the ability to use that ownership creatively was something I’ve always wanted. I can remember when I first began applying for Americorps Vista positions in the Spring of 2009. One of the things that I thought would set me apart from all the other candidates was if I had a website that could show my growth and skill in electronic form. At the time I generously listed that I had created and ran blogs and websites before. It was half-true, I did create some blog somewhere that had a pdf of my resume and coverletter on it, and I had had my practice early on in life making Angelfire websites dedicated to Pokemon, Command and Conquerer Strategies, and Mech Warriors. But, it was all a gimmick to seem better than I was.

Now, 3.5 years later a lot has changed. I’ve managed to create a space online where I can and have shared. And that sharing doesn’t just stay within my own notebooks and head. Real life people actually come here to explore my thoughts – read these feelings that I post – rants that I rave – documents that I propagate – scholars that I support – news that I’m on to. And it in a way it became a cage. I started thinking more about them, than myself.

Why So Serious Skoolhaze

Why have this website if it’s not targeted to a specific public? Do I think my ideas are right? Do I think their ideas are wrong? That’s me getting lost in the madness of it all. Daily, every minute of my mind is wrapped up in a whirlwind of the future and the present. Often times I have a hard time separating the two.

When I started this, I started this as a way to reflect. A forced way for me to re-think about whatever it is I’m doing here and for however long I am doing it. I’m in grad school now, yes, so I talk about and analyze that. I’m a teacher now, yes, so I talk about and analyze that. The reflection process has pushed me by constantly serving as a tangible way in which I re-think about my practice as a teacher, scholar, and creator. This process was supposed to create something that served as a map for someone to pick up and make their own decisions from. But for them to do that I would have to show them in words and media the decisions I myself made.

At the end of the day, I love this #Artsperiment because it gives me a chance to flex my fingers. Flex my creativity. Flex my thoughts. Flex my strengths. Flex my weaknesses. Flex my goals. Flex my challenges. It gives me a chance to try to do it better than I did it before. Its my way of constantly coming through and breaking down what I thought I could do before only to do it better or at least differently. It’s a living document of my growth. Which means the focus is on me breaking down and rebuilding my walls farther apart and stronger each time. The Purge is me doing something different for my own growth. Selfishly, I’m obsessed. And this post is to reassure myself that that is actually ok.

In my head this was far more poetic…

But this is just a reminder that this… is all ok.

Addition – Actually… this shit is dope as fuck! I used to second guess doing this a lot because people close to me always had (have) something to say about how I spend my time…

I love y’all… but here’s what y’all can do –




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The Purge – Niggeritus

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The Purge – Niggeritus

This week has perhaps been the hardest teaching week for me so far (12/16/13 – 12/20/13). Grad school projects were due, and students’ behavior was just an OD management job. They’ve been extremely difficult to focus, and to keep calm. They’ve been screaming, cursing, sending subs, threatening, ignoring, complaining, joking, singing, beatboxing, rapping, harmonizing, old-school jamming, procrastinating, playing, ditching, sleeping, leaving just to return 15 minutes latering maybe…ishing, lovable, needy, supportive, childish, disrespectful, helpless, suprisingy ingenuitive, cunning, model, motivated, artistic, compelled, engaged, everythingish people to us lately.

I’ve almost lost my professionalism thrice over the past week, or maybe definitely once… who knows exactly, that’s not the point. At the end of the day, I’m a teacher, my students, the public, and myself expects me to teach these kids.

One of my many jobs is to see past these front(s) and in a way manipulate that student into learning. It’s a game of chess… trying to get these vessels to learn no matter what they’re wrapped in on their exteriors. I’m trying to frame my practice this way, and I will say that it has helped me really change the way I view my job, especially in how I prepare and approach this work.


Someone once told me that “Teaching is Activism.” A strong activist knows the importance of resilience. Even so, I’ve never felt as defeated as I did on Tuesday. The students were all coming in from their lunches and advisory classes from the day. I think all of the advisories had had pizza parties celebrating the holiday. I had already been a rough day week in general. (Just to be transparent I had actually tried pretty hard to mentally prepare myself to have a strong week going in to Christmas Break – this however is one of those times when my positive framing didn’t work.)

6th period was about to begin. They’re a class that has a lot of energy… but its more social energy vs. the back and forth energy of my 3rd period class. The late bell rang and students began wondering in one after the other rubbing their bellies and mumbling variations of “Damn, I got Niggeritus(is). I wasn’t ready…. For the devastating combo.

Sidebar: I almost feel like I have to be an assassin when it comes to the students’ casual usage of Nigga in class. The students say it a million times a day, and almost a million times a day I give them the screw face and remind that that I really hate when they use that word. Of all the words… THAT is the one I expect you to stop using. “I can’t stop saying saying it, it’s too hard.” or “Why? I am a Nigga?” or “It’s ok, Black people can say the word Nigga, followed by a quick google search of “Can black people say nigga?” which of course brought up results that they can.” The word is sooo engrained in the students language, I can tell they literally don’t think before they use it at least not in school buildings. I’m sure there are some settings like an interview where they would feel the need to track their language better than normal. Its just a terrible word to feel the need to police in a school setting. It’s the never-ending always happening battle in the classroom.


…I wasn’t ready…. For the devastating combo. I instantly retorted something about stop saying that word with my more than usual frustrations. This time was different, the students again replied in a “Oh my bad” fashion followed by the “I thought it was a word” coupled with genuinely clueless facial expressions. Unaffected they all began to drift back into the sea of off-task conversations going on in the room as my co-teacher and I tried to usher them into completing their journals. My expression turned from routine reminder mode to concerned and inquisitive.

By his time there were maybe 3 or 4 students (if I’m lucky) paying attention to my changing expressions. I half-way mustered out a “NO, it’s not a word!” in between my frustration and in disbelief. I stood there struggling for words. I honestly don’t think I’ve ever felt so powerless as a teacher. The bar had been reset in a way. My students have grown up in a time and in a culture where for them Niggeritus was as clearly a word as mother, or birth, or school.

”No, that is not a word, you won’t see that in the dictionary… Stop using that word, y’all really disappoint me when you use that word! You have no idea….(insert Peanuts voice)”

At some point I returned to teaching using the barely there energy I had left in me. The only thing that saved me were the slight tugs I would give my hair to pull me back into reality. I couldn’t quite deal with how overwhelmed I had become in that moment. It was a real moment of unwanted clarity. I saw what is always really difficult to see in this role – just how brainwashed my students had become.

Of course I was thinking about it on at least two levels. The challenge I had with teaching and really preparing my students to code-switch and track their language before they speak it. Furthermore, the level at which Black English and Common American English have mixed and diluted each other. (<– Overly complicated and vague description)


I don’t know if its right or wrong, but I was more hurt at the enculturation of the word Nigga/Nigger. And how in a very short time, my students have learned to completely devalue a word that carries such tragic history in this country. The painful part was just seeing how overtime language could be re-valued. Once language looses its meaning, how do you describe events and ideas that depend on those specific contexts?

Ferris State University has some great information about Black stereotypes and caricatures that I found a year ago. I read some of these a while ago and recommend them for anyone looking to learn more about historically demeaning Black Stereotypes and images. I’ve inserted just a few explanations and usages for the word Nigger below. It was hurtful when I read these… but pain can be the best motivator of them all.

Ferris State University: Nigger and Caricature

The word nigger carries with it much of the hatred and repulsion directed toward Africans and African Americans. Historically, nigger defined, limited, and mocked African Americans. It was a term of exclusion, a verbal justification for discrimination. Whether used as a noun, verb, or adjective, it reinforced the stereotype of the lazy, stupid, dirty, worthless parasite. No other American ethnophaulism carried so much purposeful venom, as the following representative list suggests:

    • Nigger, v. To wear out, spoil or destroy.
    • Niggerish, adj. Acting in an indolent and irresponsible manner.
    • Niggerlipping, v. Wetting the end of a cigarette while smoking it.
    • Niggerlover, n. Derogatory term aimed at whites lacking in the necessary loathing of blacks.
    • Nigger luck, n. Exceptionally good luck, emphasis on undeserved.
    • Nigger-flicker, n. A small knife or razor with one side heavily taped to preserve the user’s fingers.
    • Nigger heaven, n. a designated place, usually the balcony, where blacks were forced to sit, for example, in an integrated movie theater or church.
    • Nigger knocker, n. axe handle or weapon made from an axe handle.
    • Nigger rich, adj, Deeply in debt but ostentatious.
    • Nigger shooter, n. A slingshot.
    • Nigger steak, n. a slice of liver or a cheap piece of meat.
    • Nigger stick, n. police officer’s baton.
    • Nigger tip, n. leaving a small tip or no tip in a restaurant.
    • Nigger in the woodpile, n. a concealed motive or unknown factor affecting a situation in an adverse way.
    • Nigger work, n. Demeaning, menial tasks.(Green, 1984, p. 190)

Nigger has been used to describe a dark shade of color (nigger-brown, nigger-black), the status of whites who interacted with blacks (nigger-breaker, -dealer, -driver, -killer, -stealer, -worshipper, and -looking), and anything belonging to or associated with African Americans (nigger-baby, -boy, -girl, -mouth, -feet, -preacher, -job, -love, -culture, -college, -music, and so forth).4 Nigger is the ultimate American insult; it is used to offend other ethnic groups, as when Jews are called white-niggers; Arabs, sandniggers; or Japanese, yellow-niggers.




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The Purge – Advance

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The Purge – Advance

So, I’ve had the audacity to start thinking about what’s next after this Masters of Urban Education degree is complete. People hate it when I say this, but I can’t really put into words what this experience has done for me. I’ve really tried to implement what I’ve learned about coasting on my talents versus agitating myself to reach new and uncharted successes in my life.


Thanks to Jullien Gordon, I’m thinking about looking into organizational leadership, strategy, and entrepreneurship courses. It’s a very early thought, but a thought none-the-less. If I could create a field of study or skill that I wanted to learn more about it would definitely be Social Entrepreneurship or Community and Public Leadership, something along those lines. There’s still plenty of time before I really need to know this information though. But if you know somethin about somethin let a pimp know! Especially if you have any leads on fellowship and scholarship programs out there because I’m definitely not tryna pay.

Why these programs? Well, I mean I’ve developed a thirst for knowledge and skill in teaching. For me, I think its safe to say that I’ve reached a point of perpetual curiosity to explore my knowledge and boundaries in education. However, through my education practice and readings I’ve also begun to really thinking about leadership. What is leadership both in theory and practice? Why do some people have it? I’m interested less in corporate leadership (MBA) and public sector leadership (MPA). I did start an MPA program at Northeastern University in Boston 3 years ago, but it just wasn’t the type of expertise I was really looking for. I’m not here for those industries. Civic Leadership sounds like something that would be right up my alley! I’m not sure if there is a program that has exactly what I’m after, which is cool because I’m always down to cross-pollenate educational experiences to get what I want in the long run 😉


Take a second to think about what you learned in 2013? What new things are you looking to learn more about in 2014? Where can you find these resources? Don’t limit yourself to books and classes at a traditional school, like me LoL. There’s also youtube, blogs, private classes, mentors, etc… Personally I plan on taking a sewing class this year by a young lady I found on Meetup.com, no certificate or pay increase needed. But I know once I’m done I’ll have learned a new skill I can always apply. Lets make sure we’re advancing our skills and knowledge in 2014.



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The Purge – Time

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The Purge – Time

When assessing my life I often try to figure out what I’m doing with my time. For some reason I’ve always wondered what Oprah Winfrey was doing with her time to get to where she was in life. We see her on her show for an hour a day, but what is she doing outside of the tv show with her time that is making her so successful?

Productivity Freeway Exit Sign

I used to dream about having a talk show where I asked interesting people the real questions we all wanted to know the answers to. I would always envision myself interviewing people like Oprah, Tyra Banks, Russell Simmons, etc… These were very real conversations I would have with them in my mind. One of the questions would always sound something like this…

So Tyra… we see you on TV hosting America’s Next Top Model, you have your books, your endorsements, basically doing your mogul thing. But… what does your actual schedule look like behind all of that?

Lady O, Tyra, and Uncle Russ would always grab their chests and laugh at me for being a bit caught off guard. But they always followed up with a detailed schedule that they ran day-to-day to get whatever business done they needed to get done. I would always be shocked at how they had managed to find extra time in the day in ways that I had not thought about before!


My talk show is nowhere in the near future, so the celebrities are on hold for a minute. But, I will say that I’ve always assumed scholars and other entrepreneurs adopted similar schedules as the celebrities in my head. It must take a lot repetition or where-with-all to keep pumping out articles, compiling research, managing customers and investors needs simultaneously. So I reached out to Dr. Boyce Watkins, former Finance professor for Syracuse University turned Social Entreprenuer, to ask him what his schedule looked like. Again, quick response and I came away with more than I could have hoped for.

The Purge Time Conversation SkoolHaze

My schedule looks nothing like this. But I’m excited to see how I can try to plan things differently to sneak more minutes out of each day. I’ve been reading a lot of articles lately that say waking up a couple hours before you need to start getting ready for work is the way to go. I can also say that last year my preps (periods off when teaching) were used to rest and just mentally recover. NOW, I make sure I get as much work done as I can. Usually its planning for my 7th period Post Graduate Prep elective course, or making small changes/prep work for my English classes. Either way I get as much done while I’m in the school building as possible before I leave. Once I walk into my house, my body and mind are prone to shut down, and recently I’ve stopped trying to fight them.

What does your schedule look like? Would you say you use your time well enough to get to the level of success you expect for yourself?

Addition: One thing I really loved about Dr. Boyce’s message is that it figuratively gave me permission to say fuck it in my head to my friends and peers who question and perhaps even judge why I use my time the way I use my time. I’m not much of a partier – I never-ever have been. However, whether its my frat, my coworkers, my fam, my fellow grad students, whoever – sometimes I feel a bit accosted when asked why I don’t want to hang out or why I’m not doing what normal people do on weekends, etc… It was really difficult trying to validate to myself that spending time researching, writing, thinking, working was worth it when so many people I respected gave me the mental side-eye for being different. It’s still never easy to tell my frat – “No homie, I can’t go out tonight.” Now, I realize that I can use my time however I want without feeling bad for going against the grain.

Thanks again Dr. Boyce – you let me see that since I’m trying to accomplish something different than my peers my schedule will inevitably look different than their’s as well – and that’s ok.



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The Purge – Catalogue


The Purge – Catalogue

Tucked away in the SkoolHaze back alleys are about 15 drafted reviews for the books I read this summer. I was on a reading binge from July to September. Initially it started as a #Read40ADay challenge. I was doing pretty well, reading on average about 70 pages a day until maybe… early August. My mind and eyes got tired and…. the world started to slow down. I was still able to get through quite a few books, many of which expanded my thinking and gave my brain great distress. For example, Paul Robeson’s Here I Stand and W.E.B. DuBois’ The Souls of Black Folks were extremely tedious and difficult to get through. Not only did I have to translate their formal language into something I could comprehend, but I also had to try to put myself in their time. The Souls of Black Folks was written in the early 1900’s and I felt the need to put myself in Dubois’ world in order to truly understand his story. This is sort of how Lisa Delpit’s Other People’s Children felt when I tried to read it before having taught a day in school. I picked it back up right after finishing my first year and it felt like Ms. Delpit was speaking to my soul. Other books like Michelle Alexander’s The New Jim Crow forced me to analyze every word of every sentence that described the evolution of our criminal justice system. It became a sad soap opera that I couldn’t put down, and recommend everyone read.

Thankfully I’ve used a lot of what I consumed in my teaching practice and grad school papers. One day I may actually finalize the reviews and post them for your all. Until then check the list out below.

What are you readin?


Recommended Books – I highly recommend these books. These are all titles that I ended up creating my own table of contents as I knew I would be returning back to the book years later for sources and tips.


The Mis-Education of the Negro – Foundational Text for anyone educating black children or people. If you haven’t read this book and you teach African American students you should really take a second to see what Elder Woodson has to say. Its probably the most profound things I’ve heard about education theory for Black students, and it was written over a century ago.

The New Jim Crow – Great read for anyone who’s work or life is impacted by the criminal justice system. Compelling argument that highlights how the criminal justice system for over 200 years has worked to create poverty and a caste system in minority communities.

Trying to Get There – Great story about fighting for your own success in a market that isn’t used to your culture. I just loved being able to get a piece of Roderick’s story. And have actually taken to wearing bowties at work because of him.

Eleven Rings The master coach. I admit the sexy cover sold me! Phil replays his youth as a basketball player and how it helped turn him into one of the most successful coaches in history. It was great seeing him make teams from players of individuals. I’m still hopeful I can use some of his tribe influenced techniques in my classes.

Other People’s Children – Amazing read that puts cultural communication differences into perspective. I would say read this if you have at least taught 1 year in a school setting. It made so much more sense once I was able to recall my own work-related situations where communication just simply wasn’t the same between my students and coworkers.

A Handbook for Teachers – Fan of Baruti Kafele’s work. He actually came and spoke at one of the conferences my old job put together. Motivational book that gives the reader so implementable tips for working with Black students.


Good Reads – Outside of The Narrative, these books are all a bit more specialized. I recommend them if you’re looking for specific tips and strategies in the areas listed.

Teaching Reading to Black Adolescent Males Great book that highlights some strategies on working with Black male readers. As a Sped teacher its been a bit more difficult to implement these in an ICT setting. But I do feel like this book gave me a better perspective to assess my student’s literacy skills.

The Black Man’s Guide to Graduates School I read this after I had already finished my 1st year of Grad School. Shout out to co-author Corey Guyton who got his Ph. D. from my alma mater Indiana State University. Great read if you’re thinking about going to grad school but not sure where to start. Book offers multiple perspectives from 6 different guys who all had different journeys to meet their success.

Narrative of Frederick Douglas I read this in high school, but didn’t quite remember it. Great perspective builder for anyone who needs a refresher of Black/American history – how far we’ve come – and how far we still need to go.

Motivating Black Males to Achieve Another book from Baruti Kafele. I’m in the middle of reading this now. I love that he approaches this work form a surplus perspective. It shows in his writing and its refreshing reading about Black youth from that perspective.

Unlabel Motivation Maker. I’ve been reading this book for a while. It talks about Mark Ecko’s rise to fame with Ecko clothing, Complex Magazine and all his other business ventures. I love this book because every time I read it I end up putting it down to go work on SkoolHaze. Definitely worth the money.

Countering the Conspiracy to Destroy Black Boys Perhaps one of Dr. Juwanza Kunjufu’s founding works. Dr. Kunjufu is a voice for the Black Male scholar to speak about his own condition in society. The book was written in the 80’s and reflects some of popular black opinion from that time. But overall a great read for anyone wanting a deeper look at issues that may be affecting Black male success.



General Collection – These books didn’t give me groundbreaking new information, but they were interesting reads.

DreamKeepers – So, at one point we were asked to read a book that I didn’t agree with in our grad classes. The title of the book related to scare tactics that I just couldn’t stand behind in class. I went to the professor and she offered to incorporate an additional text for me and others. This is that text. I like DreamKeepers it kind of touches on the teaching and communication differences between White teachers and teachers of color.

Coming of Age: Rites of Passage I would recommend this for people who have been through a Rites of Passage program themselves. The book gave me a language to use in describing and thinking about the pro’s and con’s of the process. I don’t know if it will be helpful to anyone without an intimate knowledge already though.

To Be Popular or Smart – Easy read. To be honest I can’t remember much from the book.

Motivating and Preparing Black Youth Easy read. To be honest I can’t remember much from the book.

Teaching Matters Great book written by two education scholars from my alma mater Indiana State University. They talked about how educators owe it to their profession to be and bring passion to their work.

The Warrior Method This is a book I just started. It gives basic information about raising strong Black boys. The title is what caught me the most. But I haven’t read enough of the book to really speak about it.

The Alchemist A book I’ve always wanted to read about reaching your personal legend, and creating doors where there were no doors before.

Angry Little Men Oddly enough I didn’t have a problem with this title even though its similarly framed from a deficit standpoint. I don’t remember much about this book, but in the margins I wrote “This book answers how African American children (boys) can have a high academic self-concept even if they don’t perform well academically.”

Empire State of Mind Anecdotal review of Jay’Z’s rise to fame and stardom. The authors interviews people close to Jay-Z and uses old newspaper articles to piece the story together. I wouldn’t recommend this book if you’re looking for more first hand information on Jay-z.

Juggling Elephants One of the first books I read two or 3 years ago that began my library. It was the beginning of me figuring out how to effectively use my time to get what I want.

Fraternity I’ve been eyeing this book forever. It’s the story of the group of Black men that were recruited to attend Holy Cross University on scholarship. The class was part of an integration push by the school officials. Some members of the cohort include Clarence Thomas, Theodore Wells a successful defense attorney, and Edward P. Jones a Pulitzer Prize winner. I started reading this book, but haven’t been pulled in by the story yet so I put it down. I plan to return one day.

Prince Among Slaves Last but not least a book about a former African Prince sold into slavery here in the states. I loved learning about Ibrahima’s story. I haven’t finished the book yet but its historical facts mixed with anecdote.



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