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Pedagogy of Survival

The Narratives of Millicent E. Brown and Josephine Boyd Bradley


Karen Meadows

With particular focus on the first-hand narratives of two desegregation pioneers—their stories, sufferings, and pedagogy of survival—this book gives voice to unsung heroes and the often overlooked view of the adolescent perspective to address the question of how one can endure and thrive in the midst of hardship and tragedy. While enduring her own personal trauma, the author wrestled with the question, “How will I survive?” The answer, she discovered, was in the actual act of surviving and in the navigational strategies she employed and witnessed in the lives of others. In Pedagogy of Survival, the author uses the narratives of ordinary people to highlight extraordinary lessons of perseverance. The integration of historical and present-day change agents challenges readers to examine their own lives and see that they, too, have the ability to not merely withstand trials, but to become agents of change. Everyone has a story that matters and can serve as a lesson for someone else. So what is your story? How will you use it to help others? Ultimately, what is your pedagogy of survival?
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My thanks and gratitude, to so many, surpass written words, for the heart speaks its own language. However, it is the written word that I have as a communication tool and I hope these few words provide a glimpse into the impact you have made on my life. This book has been a labor of love, a test of endurance, an acknowledgment of those who have served as change agents, and a testimony to those who were willing to share their story and thus their pedagogy of survival.

I first thank and acknowledge God, my higher power, for directing me on this path. Thank you to my mother (Essie Mae Meadows) and my aunts (Catherine Meadows Thompson and Edith Morehead Davis), you have given me the faith, courage, and foundational supports I need to conquer any dream. Thank you to my cousin, Janine Davis, for being my best friend, confidante, and cheerleader. I appreciate you using your skill of read aloud to assist me with this book and thank you for building my confidence through my work with Girl Talk Foundation Inc. Thank you to my Greensboro and Miami family, especially my immediate family: Uncle Sonny/Robert Meadows (Rest in Peace), Susan and family, Omar (Rest in Peace), Marsha and family, Laurissa and family, Mitch, Terri, and family, and Kayla—thank you for sharing your teen perspective. Thank you to my friends whose support, concern, and belief ← xi | xii → in me made all the difference: Felicia Bowser...

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