Afterword  Black Education

Afterword  Black Education


ChickenBones: A Journal

for Literary & Artistic African-American Themes



CORIBE is advancing . . . two important premises: 1) Education is a basic human right

 and 2) Humane and equitable education for and about Black people is a condition

of humane and equitable education, justice and human freedom for all.



Books by Joyce E. King


Black Education / Preparing Teachers for Cultural Diversity / Teaching Diverse Populations

 Black Mothers to Sons: Juxtaposing African American Literature with Social Practice.

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Black Education

 A Transformative Research 

and Action Agenda for the New Century

Edited by Joyce E. King



. . .[S]ome “research” has been subordinated to and corrupted by ideology. . . there has been substantial questioning of what educational research should be and a fear that the federal government is moving to a rigid orthodoxy in defining what counts as “science” or “research.”            

— Gerald Bracey (2004, p. 556)

“. . .[T]he state of the education of many African Americans can be seen as a crime against humanity.”    

 — The National State of Black Education Movement

“Africa is destined to play an expanding role in this new century.”                                                                           

—Chautauqua Institute (2004)

If we are serious about changing the educational experiences of Black students, we must address those obstacles that impede their intellectual stimulation including fundamental problems of perspective bias and conceptual flaws that corrupt education research. 

CORIBE‘s approach call attentions to ways the ideological corruption of research, buttressed by the mainstream research orthodoxy, blocks the development of beneficial knowledge, education practice, and policy.

The findings and recommendations presented in this volume also illuminate the far-reaching social costs of alienating, soul-damaging education—costs that top-down, corporate-driven, for-profit reform efforts fail to address. Ameliorative reforms may facilitate individual economic goals for a few but not our collective advancement and empowerment of Black people and our communities.  

Moreover, the evolving “diversity” discourse in the U.S. too often encourages a false hope in “multicultural chic”—hybridity, inclusiveness, anything but African. While Europeans are attempting to forge a new pluralism and respect for their multiple heritages and languages, African people are being cut off from our collective identity and care for each other, strengths that have been so integral to our survival, which is clearly in jeopardy.

Indeed, the news coming out of our communities in the U.S., the Diaspora and out of Africa is cause for alarm:  28 percent of Black men in the U.S. will be sent to jail or prison in their lifetime; women and girls of African descent globally are bearing the brunt of the violence and poverty ravaging our communities and villages; of 38 million cases of AIDS in the world, 34 million are in Africa; a genocidal war against the Black population of western Sudan portends the latest of “the world’s greatest humanitarian crises” on the continent while the “new scramble for Africa” takes place in the guise of  “tribal conflict” (New Internationalist, 2004). 

In the midst of this global crisis and the abject state of Black education that is painstakingly illuminated in this volume, there are hopeful signs, however. This 50th year after the Supreme Court’s landmark Brown decision another watershed event, the 40th anniversary of the Freedom Schools has also been celebrated.

During the Civil Rights movement SNCC activists joined with fearless local people in Mississippi under conditions of sheer terror to create these extraordinary liberated spaces for education. In this new century, young artists and activists are bringing educational messages of high moral and socially redeeming value in spite of the massive onslaught of ghetto-fabulous cultural capital promoted by the $5 billion “Hip-hop economy” (Chuck D, 1997; KRS-ONE, 2003).

Reparations, no longer a fringe conversation, has entered even the venerated  “halls of ivy” as institutions such as Brown University are using the tools of scholarly inquiry and ethical introspection to reveal more instances of mainstream dependency on “benefits” derived from our “Holocaust of Holocausts” (Moore, Sanders & Moore, 1995).   

Some may wonder about or even object to the attention given to Africa in this initiative. Why focus on learning African language or on what is going on over there, or in Brazil, when “we have so many problems of our own to deal with right here?” Or, “Our children need to pass these tests so they can get a job.”

Such short-sightedness will not serve us well.  This is because our dispossession in the U.S. is part of a system of global hegemony that transcends both individual opportunities as well as our domestic predicament. Furthermore, as the title of this volume suggests, the well-being of the human family is also imperiled by these patterns of exclusion and domination.

A recent Chautauqua Institute lecture titled, “Why Africa Matters” is also worth mentioning.  In this lecture H. J. de Blij (O’Grady, 2004), distinguished professor of geography at Michigan State University, emphasizes the African foundation of our human interconnectedness.

“We are all Africans,” he observes:  “It is where we learned to speak, where we learned to live in communities, where we did our first art, it is where we made our first music. . Man [sic] would understand himself better if he knew Africa better.”  Of five reasons why Africa matters (or should matter) to all Americans, the second one that Professor de Bilj cites is that eleven percent of the U.S. population is African American. “For that reason alone,” he concludes, “we should re-connect.”

Re-connect? How? What do “we” need to know to “re-connect?” On whose terms?  Sadly, like most of our fellow citizens, as several of the chapters in this volume demonstrate, neither African Americans nor Diaspora Africans are being educated to feel connected to Africa, nor are we sufficiently informed about Africa’s best interests to act accordingly.

Celebrated Hip-Hop artist and author Chuck D (1997) sums up the gravity of our mis-education succinctly: “Brothers and sisters in Africa have been lied to about us, just as we have been lied to and misinformed about them” (p. 162). Furthermore, our particular disaffection from our African heritage and identity is a burden that non-Africans do not have to bear. This is the crime against our humanity.

What have we learned from the CORIBE initiative that can address the conditions of Black education?  The transformative agenda that CORIBE has distilled shifts the research framework beyond a narrow focus on so-called academic “dis-identification” (the “acting white” hypothesis) or the “stereotype threat,” the “achievement gap,” the “skills gap” or quick-fix school reforms.

Instead this volume presents research on proven solutions—best practices—that prepare Black students and other students to achieve at high levels of academic excellence and to be agents of their own socio-economic and cultural transformation.

The vision of Black education that CORIBE is advancing is grounded in two important premises: 1) Education is a basic human right and 2) Humane and equitable education for and about Black people is a condition of humane and equitable education, justice and human freedom for all.

The globally inclusive approach to Black Education as a field of study, as well as the research and practice presented in this volume, take into consideration the experiences African descent people share with other historically subordinated groups in the U.S. and in the global South.  Racialized disparity and alienation are inexorable outcomes of the “power-knowledge-economics regime” in which white supremacy reigns and corrodes education at every level—for students, teachers and teacher educators as well as other scholars in academia. More so than studying these matters to produce a conventional report, CORIBE was designed as a broad-based participatory process to re-frame our thinking about the issues that created the need for this initiative.

Pointing toward new directions for research, education and social action, the powerful documentation assembled in this volume demonstrates the expertise of educators who know how to provide culturally nurturing, enriching and liberating education across the disciplines in schools and community settings.

CORIBE’s Transformative Research and Action Agenda (Appendix A) underscores the importance of linking research and social action to be undertaken by the global community of African-descent scholars/activists and our allies, within and also independently of AERA.

Fortunately, this work has already begun. In the Postscript that follows “Bill” Watkins affirms the dedication, passion and hope among those who have stepped fearlessly into the fray.

In conclusion, this book and the exemplary work of the Commission on Research in Black Education testify that we are prepared to battle the forces of barbarism—whether ideological, institutional and cultural practices or policies—that dare to exclude Black children here and there in the world from their rightful futures.  Civilization and human freedom in the new century hang in the balance. . . .

It may look as if all we ever did was to endure this history of ruin, taking no steps to end the negative slide and begin the positive turn. That impression is false. Over these disastrous millennia there have been Africans concerned to work out solutions to our problems and to act on them. . . .

[E]ven in defeat the creative ones left vital signs. They left traces of a moral mindpath visible to this day, provided we learn again to read pointers to lost ways. Then, connected with past time and future space through knowledge recovered, thinking Africans seeking one another in this common cause will meet the best of humanity for the work ahead: ending the past and current rule of slavers.

We are not after the slave-foreman power that, under the killer’s continuing rule, is blind ambition’s hollow prize. We are after the intelligent understanding of all our realities, not simply the politics of power. We are after intelligent action to change these realities. For we intend, as Africans, to retrieve our human face, our human heart, the human mind our ancestors taught to soar. That is who we are, and why. 

 –Ayi Kwei Armah (Osiris Rising, pp. 9-10)

Source: Joyce E. King (ed). Black Education: A Transformative Research and Action Agenda for the New Century  (2005)

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Dr. Joyce E. King is the Benjamin E. Mays Chair of Urban Teaching, Learning, and Leadership in the College of Education at Georgia State University. 

The former Provost and Professor of Education at Spelman College, King is recognized here and abroad for her contributions to the field of education. In addition to Black Education, a publication which she edited, Dr. King has published three other books –Preparing Teachers for Cultural Diversity, Teaching Diverse Populations and Black Mothers to Sons: Juxtaposing African American Literature with Social Practice.

She has published many articles as well that address the role of cultural knowledge in effective teaching and teacher preparation, black teachers’ emancipatory pedagogy, research methods, black studies epistemology and curriculum change. King is a graduate of Stanford University where she received a Doctor of Philosophy degree in social foundations and a Bachelor of Arts degree in sociology. She also holds a certificate from the Harvard Institute in educational management.Click to purchase Black Education. There is also a video documentary

posted 9 November 2007

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Zippety Doo Dah, Zippety-Ay: How Satisfactch’ll Is Education Today? Toward a New Song of the South

Dr. Joyce E. King on Black Education and New Paradigms

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Privatizing Education: The Neoliberal Project

Black Education and Afro-Pessimism / The Collapse of Urban Public Schooling  / The Myth of Charter Schools

Men We Love, Men We Hate  / Ways of Laughing (Kalamu ya Salaam)

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Basil Davidson obituary—By Victoria Brittain—9 July 2010—Davidson [(9 November 1914 – 9 July 2010) a British historian, writer and Africanist] was enthused early on by the end of British colonialism and the prospects of pan-Africanism in the 1960s, and he wrote copiously and with warmth about newly independent Ghana and its leader, Kwame Nkrumah. He went to work for a year at the University of Accra in 1964. Later he threw himself into the reporting of the African liberation wars in the Portuguese colonies, particularly in Angola, Mozambique, Cape Verde and Guinea-Bissau. . . . In the 1980s, with most of the African liberation wars now won—except for South Africa’s— Davidson turned much of his attention to more theoretical questions about the future of the nation state in Africa. He remained a passionate advocate of pan-Africanism. In 1988 he made a long and dangerous journey into Eritrea, writing a persuasive defence of the nationalists’ right to independence from Ethiopia, and an equally eloquent attack on the revolutionary leader Colonel Mengistu and the regime that had overthrown Haile Selassie. Guardian

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Basil Davidson’s  “Africa Series”

 Different But Equal  /  Mastering A Continent  /  Caravans of Gold  / The King and the City / The Bible and The Gun

West Africa Before the Colonial Era: A History to 1850

African Slave Trade: Precolonial History, 1450-1850

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#20 – Alain L. Locke: The Biography of a Philosopher by Leonard Harris

#21 – Age Ain’t Nothing but a Number: Black Women Explore Midlife by Carleen Brice

#22 – 2012 Guide to Literary Agents by Chuck Sambuchino #23 – Chicken Soup for the Prisoner’s Soul by Tom Lagana #24 – 101 Things Every Boy/Young Man of Color Should Know by LaMarr Darnell Shields

#25 – Beyond the Black Lady: Sexuality and the New African American Middle Class  by Lisa B. Thompson

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The White Architects of Black Education

Ideology and Power in America, 1865-1954

By William Watkins

William H. Watkins is subtle in his story of the “white architects” who developed Black education beginning in 1865, just at the end of the Civil War. Watkins shocks you with his “scientific racism” platform that he explains “presented human difference as the rational for inequality” and that it “can be understood as an ideological and political issue” (pg. 39). The reader senses a calm attitude about the author as he speaks of the philanthropists, beginning with John D. Rockefeller, Sr, who was most concerned about “shaping the new industrial social order” (pg. 133) than he was for providing a useful education. “The Rockefeller group demonstrated how gift giving could shape education and public policy” (pg. 134).

 In their support of Black education, by 1964, the General Education Board (GEB) spent more than $3.2 million dollars in gifts to support Black education. This captivating book begins with a foreword written by Robin D.G. Kelley who reflects that he learned one lesson from Watkins, “If we are to create new models of pedagogy and intellectual work and become architects of our own education, then we cannot simply repair the structures that have been passed down to us. We need to dismantle the old architecture so that we might begin anew” (pg. xiii). Why don’t the school reformers who mandate educational laws experience such an awakening?—Review by AC Snow

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The Death and Life of the Great American School System

How Testing and Choice Are Undermining Education

By Diane Ravitch

As an education historian and former assistant secretary of education, Ravitch has witnessed the trends in public education over the past 40 years and has herself swung from public-school advocate to market-driven accountability and choice supporter back to public-school advocate. With passion and insight, she analyzes research and draws on interviews with educators, philanthropists, and business executives to question the current direction of reform of public education. In the mid-1990s, the movement to boost educational standards failed on political concerns; next came the emphasis on accountability with its reliance on standardized testing. Now educators are worried that the No Child Left Behind mandate that all students meet proficiency standards by 2014 will result in the dismantling of public schools across the nation.

Ravitch analyzes the impact of choice on public schools, attempts to quantify quality teaching, and describes the data wars with advocates for charter and traditional public schools. Ravitch also critiques the continued reliance on a corporate model for school reform and the continued failure of such efforts to emphasize curriculum. Conceding that there is no single solution, Ravitch concludes by advocating for strong educational values and revival of strong neighborhood public schools. For readers on all sides of the school-reform debate, this is a very important book.—Vanessa Bush , Booklist

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Whatever It Takes

Geoffrey Canada’s Quest to Change Harlem and America

By Paul Tough

What would it take? That was the question that Geoffrey Canada found himself asking. What would it take to change the lives of poor children—not one by one, through heroic interventions and occasional miracles, but in big numbers, and in a way that could be replicated nationwide? The question led him to create the Harlem Children’s Zone, a ninety-seven-block laboratory in central Harlem where he is testing new and sometimes controversial ideas about poverty in America. His conclusion: if you want poor kids to be able to compete with their middle-class peers, you need to change everything in their lives—their schools, their neighborhoods, even the child-rearing practices of their parents. Whatever It Takes is a tour de force of reporting, an inspired portrait not only of Geoffrey Canada but also of the parents and children in Harlem who are struggling to better their lives, often against great odds. Carefully researched and deeply affecting, this is a dispatch from inside the most daring and potentially transformative social experiment of our time.

Paul Tough is an editor at the New York Times Magazine and one of America’s foremost writers on poverty, education, and the achievement gap. His reporting on Geoffrey Canada and the Harlem Children’s Zone originally appeared as a Times Magazine cover story. He lives with his wife in New York City.

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The White Masters of the World

From The World and Africa, 1965

By W. E. B. Du Bois

W. E. B. Du Bois’ Arraignment and Indictment of White Civilization (Fletcher)

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Ancient African Nations

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The Death of Emmett Till by Bob Dylan  The Lonesome Death of Hattie Carroll  Only a Pawn in Their Game

Rev. Jesse Lee Peterson Thanks America for Slavery /

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The Journal of Negro History issues at Project Gutenberg

The Haitian Declaration of Independence 1804  / January 1, 1804 — The Founding of Haiti 

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update 5 June 2012




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