The house is ablaze! What are we going to do? This is the question posed by award-winning educator and former principal, Desmond Williams. His first book, The Burning House: Educating Black Boys in Modern America is a manifesto on the issues confronting Black boys in today’s schools.

Speaking from the perspective of a teacher, principal, parent, and concerned citizen, Williams confronts issues on Black boys with a fresh perspective. He tackles disengagement, anti-intellectualism, the relevance gap, the school-to-prison pipeline, relationship building, special education referrals and whiteness as individual houses on fire within a house. Williams offers a divergent framework for viewing these problems and provides workable solutions to extinguish the flames.

Armed with data and expert experience, Williams’s work is shifting the paradigm on how to best educate boys of color for the 21st century. Inspired by Martin Luther King Jr.’s post-civil rights thinking, Williams challenges readers to evaluate the educational gains of African American males. Williams references a myriad of scholars including, Henry Giroux, Lisa Delpit, Dr. Janice Hale, Dr. Amos Wilson, Dr. Robert L. Williams, Dr. Cheryl Matias and many others. If teachers want to firefight for Black boys, this book is a must read.


Dr. Leanne Stephens

“This book is full of truths and gems”

Principal Baruti Kafele

His reading resource list in the addendum is off the charts! It even includes one of my books.

Cathy P

Amazon reviewer

As we continue to move forward, I count it as a blessing to join you as a fellow firefighter.


Amazon reviewer

I am a parent of two young boys. This book helps the reader see the educator perspective.

Todd Feltman

Amazon Reviewer

Meaningful anecdotes support the key points. The analogy of the burning house was perfect.

Kwame Sarfo Mensah

This book is a must-read for any educator or parent who is a true advocate for educational equity.


Amazon reviewer

It is like he (Williams) is the wise teacher across the hall who takes the reader under his wing. My highlighter is getting a workout.