Nov 04

Education as a Practice of Freedom


Black educators, community leaders, teachers, and learners have long struggled to create a liberatory pedagogy and challenge the inequitable ways that educational institutions shape urban spaces and Black students' education. This panel gives us this history of struggle for liberatory education and examines the unjust educational structures they sought to dismantle.


  • Davarian Baldwin

    Trinity College

    Davarian L. Baldwin is a leading urbanist, historian, and cultural critic. His work largely examines the landscape of global cities through the lens of the African Diasporic experience. Baldwin’s related interests include universities and urban development, the racial foundations of academic thought, intellectual and mass culture, Black radical thought and transnational social movements, the politics of heritage tourism, and 20th and 21st century art, architecture, and urban design.

    Baldwin is the author of In the Shadow of the Ivory Tower: How Universities are Plundering Our Cities (Bold Type Books, 2021), Chicago’s New Negroes: Modernity, the Great Migration, and Black Urban Life(University of North Carolina Press, 2007) and co-editor, with Minkah Makalani, of the essay collection Escape from New York! The New Negro Renaissance beyond Harlem (Minnesota, 2013). He is currently finishing Land of Darkness: Chicago and the Making of Race in Modern America (Oxford University Press). Baldwin is also developing a digital, video-based, Black Intellectual Oral History (BIOH) project for both archival documentation of important stories and virtual mentorship to younger scholars. In 2019, he was awarded a Logan Nonfiction Writing Fellowship from the Carey Institute for the Global Good. During the 2013 - 2014 academic year, Baldwin held the Ralph H. Metcalfe Distinguished Visiting Chair at Marquette University.

    At Trinity, Baldwin's teaching brings together urban and cultural studies, 20th Century U.S. History, and African American Studies. He is also the founding director of the Smart Cities Research Lab housed in the Center for Urban and Global Studies on campus. Baldwin leads professional development workshops for school teachers with the NEH and the organizations Primary Source and Facing History and Ourselves. He also serves as a textbook consultant for McGraw Hill and is currently formulating a video-based learning curriculum for The Great Courses series entitled, How the Great Migration Changed America.

    His research, writing, and commentary has been featured in numerous outlets including NBC News, CNN, PBS, SIRIUS XM, The History Channel, NPR, BBC Radio, TIME, Washington Post, The Guardian, The Business Journals, USA Today, and The Daily Beast. His more recent pieces include, "Why We Should Abolish Campus Police," The Chronicle of Higher Education (May 19, 2021); "Higher Education Has a Tax Problem and It's Hurting Local Communities," TIME (April 7, 2021), "Higher Education's Racial Reckoning Reaches Far Beyond Slavery," Washington Post (April 1, 2021), and "What Universities' Growing Power Means for Cities," Next City (March 30, 2021). Baldwin was appointed a Distinguished Lecturer for the Organization of American Historians.

  • Jarvis Givens

    Harvard University

    Jarvis R. Givens is an assistant professor of education and African & African American Studies at Harvard University. He specializes in the history of African American Education and his first book, Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching, was published in 2021 by Harvard University Press. His research has been supported by fellowships and grants from the Ford Foundation, the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, the William F. Milton Fund, and published in peer-reviewed journals such as the American Education Research Journal, Souls, Harvard Educational Review, and Race Ethnicity and Education. Professor Givens earned his PhD in African American Studies from the University of California, Berkeley.

  • Jesse Hagopian

    Teacher, Author, Editor, Activist

    Jesse Hagopian is a high school teacher in Seattle and has taught for over a decade at Garfield High School–the site of the historic boycott of the MAP test in 2013. Jesse is an editor for the social justice periodical Rethinking Schools, is the co-editor of the books, Black Lives Matter at School and Teaching for Black Lives, and is the editor of the book, More Than a Score: The New Uprising Against High-Stakes Testing. Jesse serves as the Director of the Black Education Matters Student Activist Award, is an organizer with the Black Lives Matter at School movement, and is founding member of Social Equity Educators (SEE).

    Jesse is an activist, public speaker, and a contributing author to 101 Changemakers: Rebels and Radicals Who Changed US History, Education and Capitalism: Struggles for Learning and Liberation (Haymarket Books), and Why We Teach Now (Teachers College Press). Jesse’s essay on the MAP test boycott and the ensuing national uprising against high-stakes testing was published in Howard Zinn and Anthony Arnove’s 10th anniversary edition of Voices of a People’s History of the United States.

    Jesse’s commentary has been featured on many local and national news programs including, HBO’s “Problem Areas” with Wyatt Cenac, NBC’s “Education Nation,” and The PBS News Hour with Gwen Ifill. Jesse’s writings on education, the Black Lives Matter movement, Haiti, Palestine, and US politics, have been published at the Black Agenda Report, The Progressive, Alternet, and the National Education Association’s Education Votes blog.

    Jesse is the recipient of the 2019 “Racial Justice Teacher of the Year” from the NAACP Youth Coalition and the “Social Justice Teacher of the Year” award from Seattle Public School’s Department of Racial Equity. In 2015, Jesse received the Seattle/King County NAACP Service Award, was named as an Education Fellow to The Progressive magazine, as well as a “Cultural Freedom Fellow” for the Lannan Foundation for his nationally recognized work in promoting critical thinking and opposing high-stakes testing.

    Jesse is a graduate of Seattle’s Garfield High School and Macalester College, and obtained his Master’s degree in teaching at the University of Washington.

  • Elizabeth Todd-Breland

    University of Illinois, Chicago

    In her research and teaching, Professor Todd-Breland focuses on 20th century United States urban and social history, African American history, and the history of education. Her work also explores interdisciplinary issues related to racial and economic inequality, urban public policy, neighborhood transformation, education policy, and civic engagement. Her book, A Political Education: Black Politics and Education Reform in Chicago since the 1960s (University of North Carolina Press, 2018), analyzes transformations in Black politics, shifts in modes of education organizing, and the racial politics of education reform from the 1960s to the present.

    Professor Todd-Breland’s writing has appeared in the Journal of African American History, Souls, and scholarly edited volumes. She has also contributed to popular outlets, including NPR, ESPN, the Washington Post, and local radio, television, print, and online media.

    Her research has been supported by grants and fellowships from the National Academy of Education, Spencer Foundation, Andrew W. Mellon Foundation, American Council of Learned Societies, Social Science Research Council, Ford Foundation, and UIC Institute for Research on Race and Public Policy. Professor Todd-Breland earned her PhD in History from the University of Chicago.



comments powered by Disqus