In March 2014, I received an urgent e-mail request from a high school teacher in St. Louis, Mo., to visit her international literatures course. She wanted me to address a class of juniors and seniors that was comprised mostly of black male students.
“They don’t believe that they have futures,” Ms. R. wrote. Her tone in the message was neither incredulous nor dismissive. Rather, her language exuded a complex modulation of compassion, care and, most of all . . .
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