2012 Black America Top Priority: Education…

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(ThyBlackMan.com) As we move into a new year, it is absolutely critical that we African-American people get serious about providing a quality education for our children.

Nearly 20 years ago in a column in the Richmond Free Press, I wrote that “Churches, Greek organizations, social and civic clubs need to develop concrete ways by which they can assist committed teachers and administrators in preparing our children for the 21st century. We are the only group in this country that has a vested interest in educating all of our children. If we fail to do so, history will rightfully treat us with contempt.”

Many of our ancestors have left us with concrete, inspirational guidance about the importance of education if we are to achieve equal rights, equal justice and equal opportunity in this country.

David Walker, one of the most dedicated 19th century warriors against the enslavement of African people, stated “…I would crawl on my hands and knees through mud and mire, to the feet of a learned man, where I would sit and humbly supplicate him to install into me that which neither devils nor tyrants could remove, only with my life – for colored people to acquire learning in this country makes tyrants quake and tremble on their sandy foundations.”

‘A trained mind’

Dr. Benjamin E. Mays, one the greatest educators of the 20th century, noted that “I hope we will make it clear to ourselves and our children – that whatever we believe in, integration, separatism or nationalism, there is no substitute for a trained mind. For the future belongs, always has and always will belong, to the man who knows, and the man who has skills.”

Chancellor Williams, who offers a comprehensive plan for organizing our people in Chapter 15 of his book, “The Destruction of Black Civilization: Great Issues of a Race From 4500 B.C. to 2000 A.D.,” advocated that “Every Committee of School Visitors should be elected by the people of the community and should report directly to them. But ‘education’ here means far more than ‘school’ education. It means spreading light through a comprehensive program into the deprived areas of the community; new standards for better health; better homes and gardens; neighborhood improvement activities; and sponsoring neighborhood conferences on questions of mutual community and educational interest.”

What the above men and other serious African-American men and women have advocated is very doable if we pay heed to the following observation made by the brilliant historian/journalist and former Ebony Magazine executive editor, Lerone Bennett, Jr.:

“Given the way we were forced to live in this society, the miracle is not that so many families are broken, but that so many are still together. That so many Black fathers are still at home. That so many Black mothers are still raising good children. It is the incredible toughness and resilience in (Black) people that gives me hope.”

Written By  A. Peter Bailey