Amplifying Ferguson and Race in Child Welfare

One lesson from Ferguson for those of us who talk and write for a living is that now is (always) the time to amplify voices that normally are silenced. For those of us who work in child welfare, another lesson is that the children we work with have a social, historical, and political identity that is not amenable to rounds of individual therapy. So here are some readings from the #FergusonSyllabus that have to do with youth and families, shared from the list curated by Marcia Chatelain writing at and from I’ve added four suggestions for child welfare folks at the end. 

“A Talk to Teachers,” in The Price of the Ticket, Collected Non-Fiction 1948-1985
James Baldwin

Ferguson Killing Inspires Young Black Activists
Frederica Boswell, NPR

On Recognizing My White Privilege as a Parent in the Face of Ferguson
Elizabeth Broadbent, xoJane

What Do We Teach When Kids Are Dying? #MichaelBrown
Chris Lehman, blog

What White Children Need to Know About Race
Ali Michad and Eleonora Bartoli,

Healing Days: A Guide For Kids Who Have Experienced Trauma
Susan Straus

How the Children of Birmingham Changed the Civil-Rights Movement
Lottie L. Joiner, The Daily Beast

“‘We have to make them feel us‘: Open Letters and Black Mothers’ Grief”
Emily Owens, African American Intellectual History blog

Family Properties: Race, Real Estate, and the Exploitation of Black Urban America
Beryl Satter

Noughts & Crosses
Malorie Blackman

Smoky Night
Eve Bunting and David Diaz

What Shall I Tell My Children Who Are Black?
Margaret Burroughs

I am Rosa Parks
Brad Meltzer

Ruth & the Green Book
Calvin Ramsey

Tar Beach
Faith Ringgold

As Fast As Words Could Fly
Pamela Tuck

The Skin You Live in
Michael Tyler

The Other Side
Jacqueline Woodson

Shining Star
Paula Yoo

U.S. Schools: Desegregation court cases and school demographic data
Brown University

Race and the Ferguson-Florissant School District
Shaun R. Harper and Charlee Davis, III, University of Pennsylvania Graduate School of Education

Self-Segregation: Why It’s So Hard for Whites to Understand Ferguson
Robert P. Jones, The Atlantic

Reflections on Ferguson — What does education mean in a world like this? ” Daniel Katz, blog

Michael Brown’s High School Is An Example Of The Major Inequalities In Education
Rebecca Klein, Huffington Post

Savage Inequalities: Children in America’s Schools
Jonathan Kozol

Stepping over the Color Line: African-American Students in White Suburban Schools
Amy Stuart Wells and Robert L. Crane

How Does it Feel to be a Problem?
Relando Thompkins, blog

“Want to Help Marginalized Students in Schools? Stop “Stop and Frisk” and Other Punitive Practices, Too.” – Markus Gerke

Kirwan Institute for the Study of Race and Ethnicity. 2014. “State of the Science: Implicit Bias Review.” Available online:

Ferguson, Ann. 2001. Bad Boys: Public Schools in the Making of Black Masculinity. Ann Arbor: University of Michigan Press. (Especially chapter 4: Naughty by Nature. Google link:

Shattered Bonds: The Color of Child Welfare. Dorothy Roberts.

“Prison, Foster Care, and the Systematic Punishment of Black Women.” Dorothy Roberts.

“Black Club Women and Child Welfare.” Dorothy Roberts.

“There is no Santa Clause — The Challenge of Teaching the Next Generation of Civil Rights Lawyers in a ‘Post-Racial’ Society.” Deborah N. Archer.


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