"S" is for Soul Sister
Distributed in 1970 by the Society for Visual Education, a once-major developer of classroom materials. The Black ABC's were created in 1970 by two Chicago teachers with the help of the Society for Visual Education, a then popular developer of classroom learning material. The teachers wanted to give African American students learning materials that were more reflective of their community. The letters started in Chicago Public Schools before circulating nationally and now online on popular websites like Pinterest and Etsy.
The Black ABC's, which came from a lifelong friendship between a pair of Chicago teachers, was a byproduct of the civil rights movement, part of a need for classroom materials that moved beyond a white “Dick and Jane” and reflected the backgrounds of black students. For $26, a school received a set of posters on card stock that connected each letter of the alphabet with a positive message. Instead of “A is for apple,” “G is for goat” and “P is for pencil,” they got “A is for afro,” “G for groovy” and “P for proud.” Instead of letters paired with disassociated objects and illustrations, each image offered a handsome portrait of African-American children growing up in the Ickes housing projects in Chicago, Illinois, hanging out with friends (“U is for us”), playing basketball (“Q is for quick”), even throwing side-eye (“S is for soul sister”). Distributed by And nationwide, schools bought a lot of them.