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
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
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 Miseducation 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— 83 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.”
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
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
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 Month.
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 San Francisco State
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
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 the year!