“Nobody’s Free Until Everybody’s Free,”

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In the late 1960s, black and white women were both inspired and disillusioned by the movements for social change. The centuries-long struggle for gender equality was reinvigorated by their experiences within civil rights, Black Power, and newly formed student organizations. Fannie Lou Hamer challenged core aspects of the women’s liberation movements, especially the feminists’ one-dimensional view of relations between the sexes and their stances on birth control and other aspects of reproductive rights. Hamer expressed her concerns in a speech delivered at the founding meeting of the National Women’s Political Caucus in Washington, D.C. on July 10, 1971. This chapter reproduces Hamer’s speech, in which she pays tribute to black women in Mississippi who “started the ball rolling” with regard to civil rights activism and to white women who recently “woke up” to white male patriarchal oppression. Hamer also talked about the Vietnam War, malnutrition in Mississippi, and the “dope” pandemic consuming the nation’s young people.

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The prison abolition movement has brought attention to the American carceral crisis, or better yet, the mass incarceration and disproportionate criminalization of Black people in America. It has also led to and fomented recent calls to defund prison systems, the police, and to remove police from schools. While discussions of prison abolition have been addressed in the carceral studies literature, they are seldom addressed in the education literature and particularly in early childhood education. Given the ways in which young Black children are and have been negatively impacted by issues of mass incarceration (e.g. absence of family members, school-prison nexus), the lack of attention to the American carceral crisis and teaching about prison abolition is beyond concerning and contributes to the stanchless anti-Black violence Black children face in early childhood classrooms. Drawing on pro-Blackness, the imprisoned Black radical tradition, and abolitionist teaching, we introduce what we term prison abolition literacies– literacies practices that bring awareness to the injustices of the carceral state and encourage young children to become prison abolitionists––so that teachers can infuse prison abolition into the early childhood education curriculum.
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