The Association for the Study of African American Life and History chose the “crisis in black education” as the topic for its 91st annual Black History luncheon. From the ASALH,
“The theme for 2017 focuses on the crucial role of education in the history of African Americans. ASALH’s founder Carter G. Woodson once wrote that “if you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race.” Woodson understood well the implications associated with the denial of access to knowledge, and he called attention to the crisis that resulted from persistently imposed racial barriers to equal education. The crisis in black education first began in the days of slavery when it was unlawful for slaves to learn to read and write. In pre-Civil War northern cities, free blacks were forced as children to walk long distances past white schools on their way to the one school relegated solely to them. Whether by laws, policies, or practices, racially separated schools remained the norm in America from the late nineteenth century well into our own time.”
ASALH began in 1915 under the administration of Dr. Carter G. Woodson, historian and writer. Dr. Woodson is also credited for being the “Father of Black History.” In 1926 he began the observance of Negro History Week (ASALH, 2017). This became Black History Month in 1976. The month of February was chosen to reflect the births of President Abraham Lincoln and Frederick Douglass (woodsonmuseum.org, 2017) If you would like to learn more about the ASALH and Dr. Woodson, please visit the following sites for more information:
- ASALH- https://asalh100.org/
- Dr. Carter G. Woodson African American Museum- http://www.woodsonmuseum.org/home
To learn more about this year’s theme, please visit the Tyler libraries for books and other materials available in our collections. The following are available at the Midlothian and Chester campus libraries:
In 2007, a court case originally filed in Louisville, Kentucky, was argued before the Supreme Court and officially ended the era of school desegregation— both changing how schools across America handle race and undermining the most important civil rights cases of the last century. Of course, this wasn’t the first federal lawsuit to challenge school desegregation. But it was the first—and only—one brought by African Americans. In Divided We Fail, journalist Sarah Garland deftly and sensitively tells the stories of the families and individuals who fought for and against desegregation. By re-framing how we commonly understand race, education, and the history of desegregation, this timely and deeply relevant book will be an important contribution to the continued struggle toward true racial equality.
Combining hard-hitting investigative journalism and a sweeping family narrative, this provocative true story reveals a little-known chapter of American history: the period after the Brown v. Board of Education decision when one Virginia school system refused to integrate.
In the wake of the Supreme Court’s unanimous Brown v. Board of Education decision, Virginia’s Prince Edward County refused to obey the law. Rather than desegregate, the county closed its public schools, locking and chaining the doors. The community’s white leaders quickly established a private academy, commandeering supplies from the shuttered public schools to use in their all-white classrooms. Meanwhile, black parents had few options: keep their kids at home, move across county lines, or send them to live with relatives in other states. For five years, the schools remained closed.
Commemorating Brown offers a critical retrospective on the role of psychological research in the fight against racism and discrimination and an up-to-date review of the psychology of racism and its implications for schools, the workplace, and public policy. The chapters provide a historical perspective on the Brown decision, including its promise as a mechanism for social justice, the reasons why its promise remains unfulfilled, and its ongoing relevance in a contemporary context of increasing resegregation.
Prudence Crandall was a schoolteacher who fought to integrate her school in Canterbury, Connecticut, and educate black women in the early nineteenth century. When Crandall accepted a black woman as a student, she unleashed a storm of controversy that catapulted her to national notoriety, and drew the attention of the most significant pro- and anti-slavery activists of the day. The Connecticut state legislature passed its infamous Black Law in an attempt to close down her school. Arrested and jailed, Crandall s legal legacy had a lasting impact Crandall v. State was the first full-throated civil rights case in U.S. history. The arguments by attorneys in Crandall played a role in two of the most fateful Supreme Court decisions, Dred Scott v. Sandford, and the landmark case of Brown v. Board of Education. In Prudence Crandall s Legacy, author and lawyer Donald E. Williams Jr. marshals a wealth of detail concerning the life and work of Prudence Crandall, her unique role in the fight for civil rights, and her influence on legal arguments for equality in America.
Emerging from the darkness of the slave era and Reconstruction, black activist women Lucy Craft Laney, Mary McLeod Bethune, Charlotte Hawkins Brown, and Nannie Helen Burroughs founded schools aimed at liberating African-American youth from disadvantaged futures in the segregated and decidedly unequal South. From the late nineteenth through mid-twentieth centuries, these individuals fought discrimination as members of a larger movement of black women who uplifted future generations through a focus on education, social service, and cultural transformation. Born free, but with the shadow of the slave past still implanted in their consciousness, Laney, Bethune, Brown, and Burroughs built off each other s successes and learned from each other s struggles as administrators, lecturers, and suffragists. Drawing from the women s own letters and writings about educational methods and from remembrances of surviving students, Audrey Thomas McCluskey reveals the pivotal significance of this sisterhood s legacy for later generations and for the institution of education itself.
Black Women in the Ivory Tower, 1850-1954: An Intellectual History (available online only)
Evans chronicles the stories of African American women who struggled for and won access to formal education, beginning in 1850, when Lucy Stanton, a student at Oberlin College, earned the first college diploma conferred on an African American woman. In the century between the Civil War and the civil rights movement, a critical increase in black women’s educational attainment mirrored unprecedented national growth in American education. Evans reveals how black women demanded space as students and asserted their voices as educators–despite such barriers as violence, discrimination, and oppressive campus policies–contributing in significant ways to higher education in the United States. She argues that their experiences, ideas, and practices can inspire contemporary educators to create an intellectual democracy in which all people have a voice.
Fifteen-year-old Diamond stopped going to school the day she was expelled for lashing out at peers who constantly harassed and teased her for something everyone on the staff had missed: she was being trafficked for sex. After months on the run, she was arrested and sent to a detention center for violating a court order to attend school.
Just 16 percent of female students, Black girls make up more than one-third of all girls with a school-related arrest. The first trade book to tell these untold stories, Pushout exposes a world of confined potential and supports the growing movement to address the policies, practices, and cultural illiteracy that push countless students out of school and into unhealthy, unstable, and often unsafe futures.
For four years Monique W. Morris, author of Black Stats, chronicled the experiences of black girls across the country whose intricate lives are misunderstood, highly judged—by teachers, administrators, and the justice system—and degraded by the very institutions charged with helping them flourish. Morris shows how, despite obstacles, stigmas, stereotypes, and despair, black girls still find ways to breathe remarkable dignity into their lives in classrooms, juvenile facilities, and beyond.
In Teaching Equality, Adam Fairclough provides an overview of the enormous contributions made by African American teachers to the black freedom movement in the United States. Beginning with the close of the Civil War, when “the efforts of the slave regime to prevent black literacy meant that blacks . . . associated education with liberation,” Fairclough explores the development of educational ideals in the black community up through the years of the civil rights movement. He traces black educators’ connection to the white community and examines the difficult compromises they had to make in order to secure schools and funding. Teachers did not, he argues, sell out the black community but instead instilled hope and commitment to equality in the minds of their pupils. Defining the term teacher broadly to include any person who taught students, whether in a backwoods cabin or the brick halls of a university, Fairclough illustrates the multifaceted responsibilities of individuals who were community leaders and frontline activists as well as conveyors of knowledge. He reveals the complicated lives of these educators who, in the face of a prejudice-based social order and a history of oppression, sustained and inspired the minds and hearts of generations of black Americans.