Lecture: “Until They Learned Better”: Calling Black Boys to Shimmering Conscious

Dr. Michelle Hite

Date: October 5, 2017 - October 5, 2017
Time: 6:15 - 8:15 p.m.

The lecture is sponsored by the Office of Multicultural Affairs and Diversity Initiatives, African American Studies Department, English Department, First Year Programs, and the Ralph C. Wilson, Jr. School of Education

In her lecture, Dr. Michelle Hite, assistant professor of English at Spelman College, applies a quote from Toni Morrison's Beloved to a central character, Rashad, in the young adult novel, All American Boys.

In Beloved---when considering the occasion that Lady Jones greets Denver, her former student---Toni Morrison describes what the teacher sees: “Heavy eyebrows, thick baby lashes and the unmistakable love call that shimmered around children until they learned better” (246).

“Until They Learned Better”: Calling Black Boys to Shimmering Consciousness in All American Boys, explores “the unmistakable love call that shimmered around children” through a consideration of Rashad in the young adult novel. In addition to Rashad's own coming to consciousness regarding the “two-ness” of black racial experience, this presentation probes the “shimmering” that Morrison describes and asks what kind of knowledge undoes it. Hite interrogates how race and gender inform this light and asks if black children are as equally lit as other children.      

At Spelman, Hite teaches courses that examine 20th century African American experiences through the lens of death and mourning. Her co-edited collection, I Die Daily: Policy Brutality, Black Bodies and the Force of Children's Literature, is currently under contract with The University Press of Mississippi.