I learned so much. I think that Tessie McGee’s story really influenced me to look more into it. And the fact that people were being fired for teaching the truth. We must teach the truth.

The Zinn Education Project hosted Dr. Jarvis Givens, author of Fugitive Pedagogy: Carter G. Woodson and the Art of Black Teaching.

Givens shared with the audience of mostly-teachers the story of Tessie McGee. McGee was a Black teacher in Louisiana who was ordered by the state to teach out of the adopted textbook and content outline.

But instead of sticking to the required outline, McGee would read to the children from the Carter G. Woodson’s textbook that she kept open in her lap. When someone would come into her classroom, she would begin reading from the outline; when the visitor left, “Her eyes went back to the book in her lap.” 

Another participant wrote:

I also am in one of the Red states that outlawed teaching the truth. These stories will inspire push back!

Read more stories and see a full video recording of the talk by Zinn Education Project hosted Dr. Jarvis Givens.