Afrodiasporan Teen Literature

What is Freedom?

A small and mighty group of H&H girls met on July 4, 2017, to process what it means to be free. It was an interesting topic to consider as Black girls living in suburbia in a midwestern city.

They began by writing and sharing their definitions of independent, independence, freedom, equality, equity, and liberty.

It seems like an odd discussion for a literary circle, however, the majority of the Afrodiasporan literary works included stories with these themes.

After they shared definitions, over cookies and beverages, they made a journey to the bookstore to explore “teen” titles. They pulled books that they would read and share, discussed how to find out if the author is Black or not, and if it matters. They then discussed stereotyped stories and how they are so annoyed with those that seem to be “urban” or “street lit” and those that “only talk about slavery or the Civil Rights Movement.”

The teens ended their meeting with a wish that more writers would realize that Black American Teens have “normal” and “regular” and “typical” teenage lives. They used the images of children’s books to illustrate their point of how important it is to have Black kids in imaginative stories being the superheroes or the class president or featuring those with darker complexions and kinkier hair. They all decided that it is even more difficult to find Asian or Latin stories for youth.

If America is to be America again (referencing Langston Hughes poem), it must listen to the voices of her many diverse youths and realize they are sophisticated cultural, political, and social citizens. They want an equitable world.

There is still time to join us. We will be at Hartford Coffee Company in the Tower Grove Neighborhood. Every county middle and high school have a summer reading requirement. The teens will use July 11th to write (and read, for some) those books and engage with the literature for their upcoming school year.

If your teen is uncertain of what to choose (if their school has a list) or uncertain of what is on the list, feel free to contact Founder & Director, Mrs. Antona. tayefosterbradshaw@outlook.com or antonabrentsmith@gmail.com.

 

 

 

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