African Centered Education Movement has brought a new
meaning to the annual African American History Month celebrations
that have become so popular. That
new meaning of African Centered thought, as defined by
Dr. Wade Nobles, “is nothing more than a term categorizing
a quality of thought and practice which is rooted in the
cultural image and interest of African people and which
represents and reflects the life experiences, history
and traditions of African people as the center of analyses.”
With this definition it is clear that we must study the
liberation of African people.
Nobles further states that African Centered thought is,
“the intellectual and philosophical foundations upon which
African people should create their own scientific criterion
for authenticating human reality.”
the African Centered Education Movement, African American
History Month has now become the catalyst for the intense
study of Africa and the history of
African people throughout the world 365 days a year. We
must pay particular attention in our studies to the history
of the Reparations Movement.
Carter G. Woodson, who founded in February of 1926 what
at that time was called “Negro History Week,” would indeed
be inspired by the continuing discussion and debate over
the infusion of the contributions of African people in
all subjects. Dr. Woodson was deeply concerned that the
contributions of African people to this society and the
world were not given their proper recognition.
Woodson’s great book The
Mis-Education of the Negro, written in 1933, described
in the first chapter titled, “The Seat of the Trouble,”
the essence of what the African Centered Curriculum Movement
is battling against today - 79 years later.
Woodson explained that, “Of the hundreds of Negro high
schools recently examined (1933) by an expert in the United
States Bureau of Education only eighteen offer a course
taking up the history of the Negro, and in most of the
Negro colleges and universities where the Negro is thought
of, the race is studied only as a problem or dismissed
as of little consequence.”
Continuing on, Dr. Woodson gave an example of, “an
officer of a Negro university, thinking that an additional
course on the Negro should be given there, called upon
a Negro Doctor of Philosophy on the faculty to offer such
work. He promptly informed the officer that he knew nothing
about the Negro. He did not go to school to waste his
time that way. He went to be educated in a system which
dismissed the Negro as a nonentity.”
since the writing of this great book, we have come a long
way in our battle against challenging the white supremacy
foundation of the American public school curriculum. However,
we still have a long way to go!
Black Movement of the 1960s gave us an impetus to reexamine
our history and its impact on this country and the world.
This movement brought on renewed interest, on the part
of our people, to study our history.
moved from the use of the term “Negro” in referring to
ourselves and began to use “Black” as the more appropriate
way to describe who we are. We went from Black History
Week to Black History Month. In fact, some of us began
to refer to the month of February as Black Liberation
was through the movement of the 1960s, particularly the
Black Power Phase that we began to re-identify with our
homeland - Africa, and the interconnection
of African people throughout the world.
Black student movement of the 1960s sparked demands for
courses in Black Studies that lead the famous strike at
a long battle with the administration at the university,
the students finally won a victory for the first Black
Studies Program to be established at an American college
or university. As a result, a movement for Black Studies
erupted all over America and stimulated
at the elementary and secondary levels demands from courses
dealing with Black History.
we have come full circle today in our general acceptance
of being African People, whose ancestral homeland is Africa,
we are also beginning to recognize that African American
History Month celebrations and activities are great, but
the contributions of African people must be emphasized
throughout the year.
is no question that the setting aside of the month of
February, as an extension of Dr. Woodson’s original idea
of “Negro History Week” is something that we need to continue
to support and institutionalize vigorously.
we are quite clear that the real meaning of African American
History Month, in this era, is to take the spirit from
all the celebrations, great speeches, great entertainment
and festive events to establish as a major agenda item
in our movement, the serious study of the contributions
of African people 365 days a year.
basis of the current African Centered Education Movement,
whose objective is to take control of the education of
African people in America as we struggle to insure that
the truth is taught in all institutions, in our communities
and particularly in our schools.
must take the spirit of African American History Month
to another level. Our history must be studied throughout
Columnist, Conrad W. Worrill, PhD, is the National Chairman Emeritus
of the National Black United Front (NBUF). Click here
to contact Dr. Worrill.