Education in the United States has always been problematic for African children. Before Reconstruction following the Civil War, education was denied to people of color, women, and poor Whites. In the postwar era, education was theoretically made available to all individuals; however, schools were racially segregated, and African children received inferior education until the Supreme Court ruling of 1954 (Brown v. Board of Education ) called for integration, after which significant changes began to occur.
Yet, Africans have always considered education to be the key to liberation and a possession that the oppressor could not take away. In the segregated era, African teachers considered their positions as a calling to provide vital tools to the children, and consequently, improve their communities. However, with integration, although African children were theoretically now able to partake of the same quality of education as White children, they found themselves in yet another disadvantaged position: They had lost the care and call for liberation that characterized the teachers in their segregated schools. In addition, the lack of understanding of their now predominantly White teachers, coupled with overt and covert expressions and attitudes of Black inferiority, has resulted in the abysmal failure of Africans, both young and old, in the U.S. and internationally. While some attempts have been made to rectify this problem, no quick fixes have been successful.
In this researcher's opinion, there is one solution: namely, African-centered education. This pedagogy uses a holistic approach, grounded in the cultural and historic worldview of Africans as subjects, not objects, and its curriculum engages students in the educational process in more viable ways. African-centered education aims to create a new social order by developing positive, self-determined young people who are liberated from White cultural hegemony.
This current research project encompassed the design and implementation of a yearlong afterschool program in Oakland, California, entitled Kamili Ville. The goal was to explore, develop, and better comprehend the impact of African-centered education on African children. The program was very successful in a number of ways and had a positive impact on the participants. Youth found a community where they were able to express themselves without judgment, and also connect with themselves as spiritual beings. In addition, they felt the safety and security of a caring community where they were able to thrive as whole beings.
Note. In this dissertation, African is used—as opposed to African American—to refer to all individuals from the African Diaspora, including African Americans.
Key words: African-centered pedagogy; holistic education; Afro-centricism; urban education; African American youth
|Advisor:||Zirkel, Sabrina, Benham, Melissa R.|
|Commitee:||Asante, Molefi, Donahue, Dave, Ginwright, Shawn|
|School Location:||United States -- California|
|Source:||DAI-A 72/08, Dissertation Abstracts International|
|Subjects:||African American Studies, Black studies, Educational sociology, Multicultural Education|
|Keywords:||African American youth, African-centered education, Afrocentricity, Black students, California, Holistic education, Kamili Ville, Urban education|
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