Shall we kick off this article with a fact that affects us all? The U.S educational system is one of the most unequal in the industrialized world. The Afrocentric way of educating our young ones has always been under Western attack. The Village Method is here to lend a helping hand to all teachers, parents, and young scholars who are seeking their African roots.
The unabridged African American history has yet to become a part of the school curriculum. That is because our lawmakers insist on censoring our centuries-long fight for education. Let us not forget that the segregated schools of the 60s continue to haunt our modern attitudes.
In today’s article, let’s join forces and seek the light at the end of the tunnel together. All African-Americans deserve to become accustomed to their collective, African past. Read on to find out more about the preservation of the African way of educating our children!
An Afrocentric View on the History of Black Americans
Afrocentrism is often mistaken for a radical idea. Similarly to the Critical Race Theory, its critics are often enthusiasts of the European way of educating our people. A shift of perspective must take place. Educational inequity needs to be addressed but only by learning from the past.
Its counterpart, Eurocentrism, has managed to diminish the educational importance of African culture and tradition. In 1865, the Freedmen’s Bureau was not only a response to the Civil War ━ it also marked a remarkable time during the Reconstruction period
4 million newly freed people needed help to get their lives back on track. With over one thousand schools built to instruct and educate our people, things were looking better than ever, until the Bureau’s termination in 1872. This short-lived emancipation speaks volumes about the systemic racism and educational inequity during that time in history.
Our children must know the real history of their people. Regardless of all hardships, academic excellence was a consistent goal for the African-American community. An Afrocentric perspective on history will replace the miseducation of all people of African descent and reconnect them with the real African history. Teach them how oppression did not stop African deep thought and that our ancestors were the original curators of spiritual, physical, scientific, mental, mathematical, astronimic and philosphic knowledge. The first universities were built in Africa (originally named Alkebulan) and the African Moors ruled Spain for over 700 years; teaching them how to cure diseases and use soap. When Abraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation, it was soon discovered that Africans held in captivity had successfully created an underground literacy railroad throughout the South. This same education and school program became the foundation of the Georgia Public Education system. Read more about this here.
An Afrocentric Take On the Brown v. Board of Education of Topeka
The Civil Rights Movement brought forth ideas that are still being propagated today. This influential political movement initiated a national conversation regarding the end of racial segregation. Afrocentrism itself was a part of this debate.
Overcoming a very overt and unapologetic systemic racism was a more difficult task back then than it is today. Specifically in terms of being enforced by the federal and state laws, the Brown case revealed the educational inequity and its roots in White supremacy. Western civilization tried its best to undermine the influence and richness of all African-derived cultures.
Joint efforts of civil rights lawyers who had fought for desegregation were met with disdain by most White parents and teachers. The Brown case influenced communities throughout the nation and brought forth issues that had long been swiped under the rug of White supremacy.
Although our children were not legally constrained from attending White schools, they continued to face systemic racism and stereotyping. Contemporary African-American culture benefited from the Brown case, although its legacy remains quite an unfinished, Afrocentric symphony. In fact, similar to the passing of the Civil Rights laws, all people of color benefited from the beautiful struggle of Black people. The marching and resistance collectively made it possible for everyone to engage in the educational system as it is today. Yet, data still shows that Black children are still disproportionately represented in low academic performance and discipline. It would seem to us that the public education system accepted the bodies of Black children, but failed to embrace the culture and soul that has sustained us as a people BEFORE being kidnapped and forced to build this country.
An Afrocentric Perspective on African Formal Education
Colonialism and Westernization paved the way for the educational inequity and systemic racism we are facing today. Critical Race Theory (aka CRT) is merely a thorough and unadulterated view of American History without centering Whiteness as the hero(ine) or savior. Although CRT continues to highlight the racial injustice directed at our people, there are still some things worth discovering in regards to the African way of educating our youth.
Did you know that in Botswana, the necessary knowledge and skills were passed on orally, through Afrocentric fables, folktales, legends, myths, and proverbs? This not only dismantles the oppression of our people through a sense of self-awareness, but also sheds new light on the concept of Afrocentrism.
Should culturally responsive after-school programs take the example of African education? This kind of Afrocentric knowledge could very well be implemented via culturally respectful family engagement activities. That way, the families, educators, and children could gain a newfound perspective on the African civilization as a whole.
Colonizers’ main efforts were directed at suppressing and, ideally, obliterating the African spirit. What schools and after-school programs should be aiming for is Afrocentric awareness and academic excellence, as the two go hand in hand.
Family engagement activities have the power to reconnect our youth to their roots. Only an Afrocentric educational approach can dismantle the systemic racism that has been plaguing our nation for centuries. It is time that we aim to build strong communities of like-minded individuals.
Can We Preserve the Afrocentric Way of Educating Our Youth?
Yes, we most certainly can. Civil rights lawyers and countless scholars made sure of that. Professor Derrick Bell or Asa G. Hilliard III, to name only a few, both fought for an authentically Afrocentric way of living and educating our youth and “Reawakening the African Mind“.
We can now bring awareness to the founding fathers of Afrocentrism, as well as to the history of our people with the help of culturally responsive after-school programs. Furthermore, family engagement activities can come in handy as a way to educate both the children and their families. This is what we like to call building a village.
The Village Method is here to build proudly Afrocentric villages. Unlike other after-school programs, we bring forth the richness and complexity of our ancestral culture through Youth Development, Family Engagement Activities, and Community Outreach programming.
Join us as we start building more and more villages. You can get involved today!