of our repair as an African people is the continued struggle to
organize to challenge the teaching of African and Africans in America
history in the public schools of America. This issue should continue
to be a priority on our educational organizing agenda.
the development of education in the western world, the idea of
transmitting knowledge has been done through what is called a
curriculum. It is through this curriculum that people are taught the
values, concepts, principles, and theories that under gird the basic
philosophy of any agreed upon knowledge. This agreed upon knowledge
is called a discipline.
the late 1960s, the Black Liberation Movement charged American
educational institutions as being racist and white supremacist. One
of the movements that developed as a result of these charges was the
call for a more accurate and thorough recognition of the
contributions of Africans in America and African people worldwide to
be included in the curriculums of elementary, secondary, and higher
movement became known as the Black Studies Movement. Throughout
America, particularly on college campuses and high schools, battles
unfolded for the revision of curriculums that were racist in their
interpretations of history and its impact on African people.
demands of the Black Liberation Movement were so forceful (in some
instances buildings were seized by students demanding Black Studies
be taught at their schools) that many universities began to develop
Black Studies programs. On the secondary and elementary level in many
school districts throughout the United States task forces were
developed to study, evaluate, and recommend changes in public school
curriculums regarding the contributions and history of African people
in the world.
has been well over thirty years since the call was made for Black
Studies and since the first Black program was established at San
Francisco State University, after months of intense battle by African
in America students with university officials.
this current climate of so-called educational reform very little
discussion has taken place regarding the continued racism and white
supremacy of American public school curriculums. The great movement
of the 1960s and 70s put the issue of Black Studies on the American
agenda, but like many issues of the 1960s, they have either fallen by
the wayside or have been put on the back burner.
concern has shifted from what is being taught to African in America
children to the problems with skill development in reading and math.
There must be a balance in our concerns not just regarding skill
development but for what is taught. To have African in America
children skilled and proficient at reading and math, but having no
idea of who they are or where they came from will repeat the
historical errors of education that Carter G. Woodson so insightfully
discusses in his 1933 publication of The Mis-Education of the Negro.
must not abandon the struggle to demand that the public school
curriculums in America be changed to reflect an accurate
interpretation of the history, culture, and contributions of African
people in math, science, language arts, art, and social studies. At
the Ninth National Convention of the National Black United Front
(NBUF) in 1988, in Kansas City, Missouri, the decision was made to
place education as a major priority in our National Plan of Action in
the work that NBUF carries out in all of its chapters.
drew on the success of the Portland Chapter members of NBUF who were
able to organize the African in America community in Portland to
demand significant changes be made in what is called the baseline
areas of the curriculum as it relates to African people. Some of the
best African minds in the world, such as our distinguished ancestors
Dr. John Henrik Clarke and Dr. Asa G. Hilliard, III were brought in
as consultants to help rewrite the curriculum of the Portland Public
Schools. This document has become known as “The Portland Model”
and has been implemented selectively in other school districts around
the country, particularly in cities where there are NBUF Chapters.
However, we are still at the embryonic stages of its implementation.
maintains that, “The issue of education when properly
approached is a mass issue that when won will have a mass impact on
the minds of millions of Black youth and thousands of Black youth
locally. Portland NBUF has demonstrated that a well organized Black
community behind a core of dedicated NBUF members can force local
school boards to adopt an African Centered Program of curriculum
change along with other changes that will be called for in each
the sake of our children, we must continue take on this challenge to
change to public school curriculum to more adequately reflect the
contributions of African and African American people in all subject