We at The Young Scholar Society are excited to begin our Book Club! The first text we are reading and discussing is the critically acclaimed Between the World and Me by Genius Grant recipient Ta-Nehisi Coates.
After talking with educators from all over, after informal surveying and student conversations we find that many students do not attend church regularly (Although some research suggests Black church attendance isn’t following the broader trend of decline). I strongly believe in the positive impact of youth regularly attending mass or church services. Church service and mass function as spaces for learning (morals, traditions, values, interpretation, orality, and the fine arts among other types of knowledge) and the practice of gratitude – spaces almost necessary for social growth.
Between the World and Me is a text wherein Coates writes a letter to his teenage son explaining Black life and survival in the United States among many other things. However, and interestingly,Ta-Nehisi Coates does not believe in a “Supreme God of justice, law, or morality”. While Coates maintains that he has allowed his son access to religious traditions, the questions still become: Where do students like Coates and their sons get morality training? How do they cultivate hope and engage in hope as theory and as daily practice? Some think the church has become a space that is no longer appealing, necessary, or relevant to this generation, and as unfortunate as this may sound, this is a reality.
This lens is limited as there are many, but Coates’ book allows us to critically examine this reality and discuss and offer ways in which to answer our general guiding questions. In these times, the perspective of faculty and staff is utterly imperative. As Coates is the recipient of the Genius Grant, it is truly possible that his book offers necessary insight into the heart of American education.
The official date for the online discussion/forum is Sunday, November 29th. For many educators this is the day after Thanksgiving break. For those looking for a great read during the break, here it is! Book lovers spread the word! The Facebook group link and Twitter hashtag are forthcoming.
P.S. For those who’ve already read and would like to get started on another necessary read, the book for December is How to Slowly Kill Yourself and Others in America by Kiese Laymon
Contact Mr. Clifford at LeMar.Clifford@gmail.com