And Still We Rise: The Trials and Triumphs of Twelve Gifted Inner-City Students / Corwin, Miles

Book Cover And Still We Rise: The Trials and Triumphs of Twelve Gifted Inner-City Students
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/ Corwin, Miles
Publisher: Harper Perennial
Availability:In Stock.
Sales Rank: 49208
ISBN-10: 0380798298
ISBN-13: 9780380798292

The typical image of South-Central Los Angeles doesn't lend itself to peaceful and productive high schools. But as Los Angeles Times reporter Miles Corwin chronicles in this troubling yet uplifting book, the ills of the inner city have not completely defeated Toni Little's advanced-placement students at Crenshaw High School, with whom Corwin spent the 1996-1997 academic year as a silent observer. Having grown weary of writing about gang violence, drive-by shootings, and drug arrests, Corwin wanted "to find a way to write about the other children of South-Central, the students who avoid the temptations of the street, who strive for success, who, against all odds, in one of America's most impoverished, crime-ridden neighborhoods, manage to endure, to prevail, to succeed." He also wanted to show "how truly slanted the playing field remains, how inequality is built into a system touted as a meritocracy." Though 98 percent of the students in the gifted program go on to attend college, it takes a near superhuman effort for them to reach graduation day. In And Still We Rise, Corwin details exactly why.

Corwin's poignant portraits of the students and his sensitive evocation of the effort it requires for them to pursue their education are among the many strengths of the book. There's Olivia, the abused former runaway, ward of the county, and gifted student; Sadikifu, the promising Muslim rapper who constantly fights the gritty allure of gang life; and Toya, who lost her own mom to domestic violence and who struggles to balance schoolwork and motherhood. Corwin further explores the intricate intersections of affirmative action, educational expectations, urban neglect, and racism. By turns shocking and inspiring, this is journalistic work that gets to the core of its subject to reveal students who "value education, sacrifice much to further their educations, and overcome many obstacles--including even their own teachers--in order to obtain their educations." It shouldn't be so hard. --Eugene Holley Jr.
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