Issue Theme: Black Girls' Literacies


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English Education
Volume 48, Issue 4, July 2016
Issue Theme: Black Girls' Literacies
GUEST EDITORS: Marcelle Haddix and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

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Editorial: Why Black Girls’ Literacies Matter: New Literacies for a New Era
Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz

Centering Black Girls’ Literacies: A Review of Literature on the Multiple Ways of Knowing of Black Girls
Gholnecsar E. Muhammad and Marcelle Haddix
In light of the current assaults on Black girls and misaligned instructional practices in and outside of schools across the nation, English educators need to understand a more complete vision of the identities girls create for themselves, and the literacies and practices needed to best teach them. This article provides a review of literature of Black girl literacies by examining historical, theoretical, and empirical research conducted across the past several decades. These literatures are organized into themes and threads that help to illustrate the pedagogies for English educators of Black girls. The authors provide implications for literacy practice, policy, and research that center Black girls’ ways of knowing and suggest a Black girls’ literacies framework as an impetus for English teaching and teacher education.

Developing Curriculum to Support Black Girls’ Literacies in Digital Spaces
Detra Price-Dennis

Teacher educators, literacy scholars, and classroom teachers are beginning to develop curricula that leverage digital literacy practices and make visible what elementary students are learning across modalities. Although this body of work provides valuable examples (e.g., digital storytelling,innovative uses of digital apps and platforms, creating podcasts, and integration of tablets) of twenty-first-century literacies in action, little is known about how these curricular choices support Black girls as they navigate digital spaces. In this article, I employ a Black girls’ literacies framework to better understand how classroom teachers can design curriculum with layered opportunities for Black girls to develop critical literacy practices in digital spaces. This framework makes visible how digital tools can (1) highlight technological capabilities, (2) promote exploration of social issues, (3) promote agency and confidence with digital literacies, and (4) showcase learning across modalities as Black girls navigate their multiple, political/critical, historical, intellectual, collaborative, and identity-laden literacies.

Black Girls and Critical Media Literacy for Social Activism
Sherell A. McArthur
Despite the largely degrading media representations of Blackness, historically, Black girls and women have been strong activists, disrupting narratives the media conveys about Black girl- and womanhood. Centering Black girls’ lived experience through critical media literacy can give them the opportunity to develop the language to identify, deconstruct, and problematize the complexity of power operating in media and negotiate visibility by counter narrating racist, sexist, and classist media narratives with authentic stories of Black girlhood. This article centralizes Black girls in media literacy by articulating the aims of the individual and collective endeavors of the Black Girls’ Literacies Collective (BGLC). The author unpacks critical media literacy for classroom teachers and shares practical ways to employ media literacy for youth social activism to alter the educational landscape to effect change.

Provocateur Pieces: At the Kitchen Table: Black Women English Educators Speaking Our Truths
Marcelle Haddix, Sherell A. McArthur, Gholnecsar E. Muhammad, Detra Price-Dennis, and Yolanda Sealey-Ruiz
In this Provocateur Piece, the authors featured in the themed issue re-create a virtual kitchen table talk where they dialogue across their respective work as English teacher educators and scholars who foreground Black feminist/womanist epistemologies in their personal, social, and professional lives. They discuss what it means to be Black women, mothers, sisters, and daughters who do work with Black girls in K–12 educational settings and Black women in teacher education. Why is it critical that all educators acknowledge Black girls’ literacies in their work? How are Black girls’ literacies honored in our work? What does it mean for us as Black women educators to do this work? How does it enrich our lives? What are the challenges? The piece ends with an open letter to Black girls as an affirming call for their reclaiming and redefining of their literate selves.


Index to Volume 48