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In homage to the radical power of art, Living While Black celebrates the small acts of resistance that comprise the daily lives of Black folks by presenting them in a series of vivid illustrations.
Laughing. Grieving. Being a kid. Even the purest expression of pleasure, the most human display of sorrow, or the simplest delight of childhood is an act of resistance if you happen to be Black. This immersive hardcover book features forty defiantly joyful illustrations by artist and educator Ajuan Mance, each artwork depicting a person of African descent going about their everyday business. Begun as Mance's personal response to the groundswell of Black Lives Matter protests in 2020, Living While Black denounces the excessive surveillance, harassment, and violence aimed at Black folks engaged in the activities of everyday life—and celebrates the courage and resilience of the Black community. Fittingly, the book also features a foreword from Alicia Garza, BLM founder and principal at the Black Futures Lab. Mance's thoughtful meditation on what it's like to be Black in America makes a wonderful tool for teachers, students, activists, and parents navigating conversations about racism and resistance.
POWERFUL MESSAGE: In the contrast between the colorful illustrations and the weighty subject matter, a powerful message emerges: No matter how strong the forces of oppression, Black people will persist in striving for justice, equality, and joy. The book itself is also a reminder that there are many ways to be an activist—from marching for what you believe in, to spreading a message with your art.
VIBRANT ARTWORK: Bright colors, bold shapes, vivid patterns—Ajuan Mance's artwork speaks to the enduring power and importance of joy.
EXCEPTIONAL TEACHING TOOL: To provide context for the artwork, Mance has compiled a timeline of recent events that lend urgency to the fight for Black lives—she highlights the ways that the conversation has shifted since cell phones allowed bystanders to document instances of racial injustice and violence and offers an entry point for anyone who wants to learn about the roots of contemporary racial justice movements.