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Readers of the Quilt: Essays on Being Black, Female and Literate - A Book Review (Page 2)
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Another theme is the key role that literacy has and continues to play in the struggle against oppression. In her chapter entitled, "Lessons from Down Under: Reflections on Meanings of Literacy and Knowledge from an African-American Female Growing Up in Rural Alabama," Bessie House-Soremekun explains the relationship between race, knowledge, and power. She describes the significance of the oral tradition among Blacks and how they have used literacy (e.g., the commanding speeches of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.) in order to fight against racism and other types of oppression.

The last theme uncovered in this book is the notion that we should broaden our conceptualizations of what it means to be literate. For example, several authors note that literacies developed within the contexts of the home, community and church are often ignored by mainstream society. One of the authors explains the importance of the Black church in regard to helping Black women learn to take on leadership roles and interact with one another by participating in activities such as serving on the choir and usher boards.

I recommend this book-- not just for Black, female literacy scholars such as myself. In fact, I recommend Readers of the Quilt to all literacy educators who are interested in the sociopolitical dimensions of literacy development. The real value of this book is that it gives voice to the perspectives and stories of people whose voices are often silenced and or ignored by mainstream society. I strongly believe that we are all richer and more knowledgeable when we listen to and take to heart the stories of people whose identity markers (e.g., race, class, gender) and experiences differ from our own.


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