Advancing Justice-Oriented Solidarity: Partnering to Transform Black Student's Literacies across Eight English Classrooms in an Urban High School
Davena Jackson

About the research


NAEd/Spencer Postdoctoral Fellowship

Award Year



Boston University

Primary Discipline

Curriculum and Instruction
As recently as February 2021, legislators in Massachusetts filed two bills (in the House and Senate) that would make legal changes in the Commonwealth relative to anti-racism, equity, and justice in education, making this project timely and consequential for Black students. They cited racial inequity as the rationale for preparing teachers and counselors to enact antiracist pedagogies that would support students in learning to dismantle racism in society. In response to this filing, this project is the impetus for preparing and supporting teachers to support and affirm students across eight English classrooms where Blackness has multiple representations. Within this state-level policy context, this project will represent working with and alongside eight diverse (e.g., Black, White, Latina) English teachers, grades 8-12, at a school in the Northeast. The school serves various communities that constitute Blackness (e.g., African American, Cape Verdean, and Haitian). Using the justice-oriented solidarity (JOS) framework (Jackson, 2020), the project will highlight the possibilities of a group of diverse teachers working in solidarity with a teacher-researcher and sharing in the commitment to advancing Black students? literacy development within equitable and just learning spaces where Blackness is centered. In addition, the project will show how teachers actualize their shared commitments to antiracist, justice-oriented curriculum and pedagogy to center Black students? full humanity while simultaneously disrupting anti-Black racism and white supremacy. Finally, this study can inform literacy educators and beyond of what is possible when teachers partner with a teacher-researcher to co-design antiracist teaching and learning.
About Davena Jackson
Davena Jackson is an assistant professor of urban education in the Department of Teaching and Learning, where she focuses on English education, language, and literacy. A 20+ year veteran English educator, her research-practice partnerships have sought to disrupt anti-Blackness, anti-Black racism, and white supremacy in secondary English education and classrooms. Her research centers on teachers? justice-oriented commitments and curricular and pedagogical choices that lead to the transformation and liberation of English classrooms. Also, her research interests include critical literacy, culturally responsive teaching theories, justice, equity, and Black Language. Her work has been published in the Research in the Teaching of English (2022), Conference on College Composition & Communication (2020), Journal Literacy Research (2020), Teachers College Record (2019), and the International Review of Qualitative Research (2017). She received her PhD from Michigan State University in Curriculum, Instruction & Teacher Education. Also, she holds a graduate certificate in urban education. Finally, Dr. Jackson is the Faculty Lead for the Affiliates Program at The Center for Antiracist Research (CAR) at Boston University and a Faculty Affiliate at The Center on the Ecology of Early Development (CEED) in the Wheelock College of Education & Human Development at Boston University.

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