The Black ABCs were once taught across the United States. Created in 1970 by two Chicago teachers and the Society for Visual Education, the cards and posters linked the 26 letters of the alphabet with language and imagery that reflected the lives of Black children. This forward-thinking educational tool was designed to empower Black youth, who would finally see their community reflected in teaching materials, which had historically been dominated by white faces.
For musician Topaz Jones, the Black ABCs served as an inspiration to explore his own coming of age in Montclair, N.J. In the short documentary above, Jones takes viewers on a visual and musical journey through his education on his own Black identity. Jones’s personal update to each letter of the alphabet continues the tradition of documenting Black life as valuable.
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The New York Times
Adam B. Ellick
Yvonne Ashley Kouadjo