BHM-Leading Black Children To Graduation
Black History Month should lead to increased graduations for Black students.
There are about four months left in the school year. Graduation ceremonies will
flourish across the country. Parents and family members will proudly watch high
school diplomas presented to student’s that successfully achieved a great accomplishment
by defying odds of dropping out and quitting, especially young Black males and females.
A major step in the lives of Black youth, a transition into adulthood and independence
will transpire. This highlights the position that many students see the value of education
and that a high school diploma is a necessity, a starting point and foundation to productive lives.
The 2011-2012 school year will produce more graduations than in previous
years (DOE 2011), each year the number grows showing that Black students
are “getting it.” They are getting the idea that they can be successful meeting or
exceeding educational standards. Even as standards rise students set their
standards higher to be successes.
In Jacksonville, Florida, South Carolina State University and Florida A&M
University are providing academic scholarships in the millions to deserving
students. Each year achievements are recognized as seniors in High Schools
prepare for high education.
HBCU’s (Historically Black Colleges and Universities) are consistently providing
avenues for higher education as other institutions either close admissions doors
or do not see the value in giving opportunities to potential successes from
students attending certain schools in particular zip codes or geographic locations.
Education In Spirit
1 Thessalonians 5:11”Therefore encourage one another and build up each other.”
Students do not know the past sacrifices that were made in order for them to
obtain such distinguished accomplishments as earning a High School diploma.
In the southern United States of America the value of education is interpreted
differently because of slavery and what Blacks have obtained because of the
emphasis on educational success and leading to professional careers.
Successes in career fields as business, education, religion, medicine, law,
domestic and international affairs have been seen as goals by Blacks because
of education. They use to be taboo or thought unattainable.
The Bible is the foundation, the first educational tool; Blacks during and after
slavery were taught with the Bible. In the history of the United States no other
cultural group has fought openly with such determination, vision, tenacity and
spiritual faith and hope than the African American culture. The Bible being the
first educational material in the introduction to reading and cognitive understanding
of the place in life beyond being indentured servants (slaves) and breaking
the mind set of mental slavery and creating self worth. So determined were Blacks
to be educated that many risked torture and death to be immersed in the Word of
God to learn to read, comprehend and speak intelligently. Faith in education is the
continued quest to show that Blacks are worthy of participation and inclusion for
the American dream. Faith is shown even by Sean Combs (P. Diddy) by his
statement,”God is on your side. Anything you put your mind to, anything you want
to accomplish, you put your faith in God’s hands you can do it.”
Plato & Malcolm X Generational Scholars
Blacks, the Words that we read helped determine our direction; it gives us focus
and purpose. Plato (427 BC-347 BC) The Republic stated, “The direction in which
education starts a man will determine his future life”. We know of the educational
prowess of many African Americans, we should never give up on our children and
their dreams no matter the social, academic or behavioral challenges. Malcolm X
struggled to graduate, but spoke so eloquently that he still debated with learned
scholars of all walks of life from the social debates on Civil Rights and political
discussions that he participated in. His statement emphasizes the need for continuous
learning through literature, “My Alma mater was books, a good library, I could spend the
rest of my life reading, just satisfying my curiosity”. This ideology should continuously
be instilled in all our children. There should be reading libraries in Black homes not DVD
libraries for music videos, video games and entertainment. Education should be the focus,
academic growth for children. Not all children will go to college, but all children should
understand the importance of education and continuous growth through literacy and
reading. Vocational education is still important; carpenters, plumbers, masons are vital
to the growth of the country also.
Authors of Books We Learned To Read
Through years of slavery, Jim Crow laws, segregation, and the fight for Civil Rights, Blacks
learned how important education is, education is a gateway; as Congresswoman Lynn Woolsey
(D-CA) stated, “Now more than ever, access to education is a gateway to good paying jobs,
and a comfortable living”. Before they were disbanded the Black Panthers created neighborhood
libraries, study sessions and held “book talks”. This was a model learned from the past as slaves
worked to teach each other to read and write. African American books that educated African
Americans were not written by Dr. Suess, Scott Foresman, books were written by David, Samuel,
John, Moses, Joseph, The Disciples of Jesus Christ. These authors were spiritually blessed with
knowledge that transcends the ages. There are 66 books that Blacks can share the same ideologies
and experiences in some form or fashion. The emotional triumph of freedom from ignorance and
equality through education can be reawakened by events that are deemed miracles. We witnessed
a miracle on January 20th 2009 when a man of color is President of the United States of America.
President Obama came from a home where he is of mixed heritage, where he had no father and the
odds were against him, but still he rose. There can be no excuse for Black students to keep them
from successfully graduating. Blacks have a role model in the highest office of the United States
and even in Jacksonville, Florida with the First African American Mayor in Alvin Brown.
“Even a child is known by his doings, whether his work be pure, and whether it be right.”
Parents must always do right by their children and set their standards high for educational and moral
success. Bishop Rudolph McKissick, Jr. of Bethel Baptist Institutional Church of Jacksonville, Florida
has stated in ministering, “our kids are filled with situations and circumstances; trials and travesties
that are the results of families and familiarities. They are a continuous work in progress. Through this
work it takes a community to raise leaders.” More than ever let Blacks collective strength help youth
to see another graduation with even more successes. Black History Month can set a great example
from the past to the present and future successes.