How simple a thing it seems to me that to know ourselves as we are, we must know our mothers’ names. -Alice Walker
Despite efforts to diversify curriculum and expose young people to a variety of histories and cultures, it is quite likely that a Black girl will graduate high school without closely examining, let alone contributing to, the remarkable landscape of Black art. This is no small matter.
Should they depend on social media, popular music, or television for their identity, Black girls will undoubtedly conclude they’re ugly, “ghetto,” angry, intimidating, or unworthy. The creative work crafted by Black women and other artists who honor them serves as a shield from such vitriol and as a reminder that Black girls stand on the shoulders of geniuses from any artistic genre imaginable.
And still, our daughters are more than their skin, their hair, their hips, and even their experiences. There is a place beyond race, gender and story. It lives at their core. The spirit is so often abandoned for limiting lenses like girl, woman, and Black, and American culture tends not to encourage introspection. Black girls are fighting to exist in a blaming world that often cripples them with finger-pointing tactics. Inquiry and mindfulness are instrumental to self-actualization. A Revolutionary Summer recognizes this and strives to achieve a host of academic goals with essential spiritual objectives in tow.
A Revolutionary Summer is an intensive critical reading and writing program dedicated to shifting harmful narratives about Black women and girls through both the meaningful study and creation of art and the deliberate application of self-inquiry. We exist to keep Black girls whole, to balance the scales, to offer up a Nobel Laureate, radical painter, love song, and afro picked to perfection for every stupid, shallow representation of her. A Revolutionary Summer validates Black girl language and Black girl thought, Black girl hair and Black girl thighs. It traces, analyzes, justifies, and celebrates Black girl herstory. It contributes forcefully, unapologetically to a sound and solid Black girl future. (Otherwise, it will need to get busy gathering Black girl bones.)