BI BOOKSHELF; Down the Ages; Black Achievement, Imagery and Culture

Article excerpt

Young, Gifted, and Black:

Promoting High Achievement Among African American Students

Theresa Perry, Claude Steele and Asa Hilliard III Beacon Press, March 2003, 183 pp., $25.00 hardcover, ISBN 0-8070-3154-2

The education achievement gap between Black and White students continues to be a hot-button issue, with some scholars arguing that Black students lag behind other students for fear of "acting White," while others claim Black students lack resources and support at home. This book reframes the nature of the debate by stressing the complex social identity issues that African American children face in school and with regard to testing.

In three separate essays, the authors explore how African American students experience school in a society that has historically devalued their intellectual abilities. They call for a new understanding of the unique obstacles Black students face in American schools and point to a variety of education practices that can mitigate those challenges and promote academic excellence.

Dr. Theresa Perry is an associate professor of education at Wheelock College. Dr. Claude Steele is a professor of psychology at Stanford University. Dr. Asa Hilliard III is the Fuller E. Callaway professor of urban education at Georgia State University.

Colored Pictures: Race and Visual Representation

Michael D. Harris

The University of North Carolina Press, April 2003, 296 pp., $34.95 cloth, ISBN 0-8078-2760-6

Artist and art historian Michael Harris traces Black artists' responses to racist imagery across two centuries, from early works by Henry O. Tanner and Archibald J. Motley Jr., in which African Americans are depicted with dignity, to contemporary works by Kara Walker and Michael Ray Charles, in which derogatory images are recycled to controversial effect.

Harris shows how, during the 19th and 20th centuries, racial stereotypes became the dominant mode through which African Americans were represented. …