Harvard’s Jarvis Givens Will Receive the AAC&U’s Frederic W. Ness Book Award

The American Association of Colleges and Universities (AAC&U) announced that Jarvis Givens is the winner of the Frederic W. Ness Book Award. The Ness award is given annually to the book that best illuminates the goals and practices of a contemporary liberal education. Dr. Givens is being honored for his book  Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching (Harvard University Press, 2021). He will be honored at the association’s annual meeting in San Franciso in January.

Through clandestine means, often in defiance of law and custom, even under threat of violence, African Americans developed what Dr. Givens calls a tradition of “fugitive pedagogy.” There is perhaps no better exemplar of this tradition than Carter G. Woodson — groundbreaking historian, founder of Black History Month, and legendary educator under Jim Crow. Fugitive Pedagogy chronicles Woodson’s efforts to fight against the “mis-education of the Negro” by helping teachers and students see themselves and their mission as set apart

“I’m so pleased that AAC&U recognizes, through my book, the important lessons Black educators of the past can teach us about pursuing meaningful education in the face of tyranny and willful ignorance,” Dr. Givens said. “I’m inspired by Black teachers’ commitment to pursuing educational justice in this country — despite being met by violent resistance and deemed intellectually inferior every step of the way. I hope that others will study and be inspired by their heroism.”

Dr. Givens was recently promoted to associate professor at the Graduate School of Education at Harvard University. Dr. Givens’ work focuses on 19th- and 20th-century African American history, the history of education, and theories of race and power in education. He joined the faculty at the Graduate School of Education in 2018.

Professor Givens earned a bachelor’s degree in business administration, a master’s degree, and a Ph.D. in African American studies from the University of California, Berkeley.


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