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From the Middle Passage to Black Lives Matter

Ancestral Writing as a Pedagogy of Hope

Marva McClean

In this narrative rooted in autoethnography, the author juxtaposes her personal story with that of international stories of resistance to oppression and calls on educators to include children’s personal stories as critical pedagogy to honor their funds of knowledge and foster their historical consciousness. With a focus on eighteenth-century freedom fighter Nanny of the Maroons, From the Middle Passage to Black Lives Matter emphasizes the historical connections between Indigenous people worldwide who have harnessed their ancestral roots to disrupt cultural hegemony. The book emphasizes the imaginative and radical assertions of the enduring resistance of the formerly colonized, going back to the era of slavery through to the Civil Rights Movement and Black Lives Matter, and calls for a radical shift in the global curriculum to include these stories.

Storytelling is acknowledged as an intergenerational teaching methodology rooted in Indigenous Epistemology which serves to honor our common humanity. The essential message of the text is conveyed through the socio-educational and cultural interventions that are asserted as transformational pedagogy that will serve to elevate students’ voices and promote their academic achievement. This book bears witness to the ways in which the history and sociocultural background of Indigenous people have been ignored and at times rendered invisible or inconsequential, and offers innovative strategies to correct history and write Indigenous people into the literature with creativity and sensitivity. From the Middle Passage to Black Lives Matter is a narrative of social justice that seeks to raise the reader’s historical consciousness and provide authentic strategies to decolonize the global curriculum.

"From the Middle Passage to Black Lives Matter invites readers to re-examine the history of European discovery and colonization told from out-side of the colonial gaze. Marva McClean overcomes the erasure of truth telling, which has cen-sored our participation and influence within history as people of color, via vivid emotional and visual discourse in storytelling that at times can best be described as poetry. Readers are invited back to the time of Nanny of the Maroons, an archetypal figure connecting resistance movements across the Black Atlantic to give birth centuries later to the Civil Rights Movement and now Black Lives Matter as part of her legacy. “Marva McClean takes us on a journey running throughout the centuries, recounting her own his-torical consciousness in confronting social inequities across the globe in search of our common human dignity. She makes an urgent call to educators to acknowledge students’ funds of knowledge in creating a cultural space within the curriculum that embraces their cultural he-roes/heroines in the awareness of their own empowerment, in much the same way feminist free-dom fighter Queen Nanny of the Maroons lighted the path of social justice for the author as a young woman growing up in Jamaica. It is a call we must heed.” Marcus Woolombi Waters, Program Director, Creative and Professional Writing, Griffith Uni-versity – Gold Coast, Australia