It Takes More than a Degree

By Roy Douglas Malonson

“History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.”
― Carter Godwin Woodson,

The Mis-Education of the Negro

I have to revisit this subject because it is an element that is constantly attacking our communities. When I see the state of Black America as it is, and when I speak to many mis-educated degreed folks; I can only shake my head. The mentality that a piece of paper can entitle a person to automatically demand respect and disregard others is a backwards way of thinking. For a person to think that they can rid themselves of hard work, just because they have passed tests is a thought process that has many of our youth completely ignorant of what it takes to make it in life.

As a result, many leave home from college to go and achieve their degrees, only to come back home to parents or grandparents who had nothing but a formal education or either none at all.  Back when I was coming up, we may not have had all of the luxuries that the modern-day society affords our youth, but, we were taught how to make a living. Even in our schooling, there were classes which equipped us to be able to leave school with some type of training. I often stress my discontent with the public-school system for removing electives and classes such as Home Economics, FFA, Woodshop and others like them.

We MUST Understand getting a proper education is one of the most valuable tools in life. With the same token, every student that enters preschool is not necessarily equipped to accomplish a degree at the university level. Therefore, I believe teaching our students other alternatives to help them create a career for themselves in formal educational years is imperative to survival. Carter G.Woodson described some of the key factors associated with this element in his book, The Mis-Education of Negro. In Chapter Five he gives the ramifications of Africans living in America who fail to learn to make a living.

What Negroes are now being taught does not bring their minds into harmony with life as they must face it. When a Negro student works his way through college by polishing shoes he does not think of making a special study of the science underlying the production and distribution of leather and its products that he may some day figure in this sphere. The Negro boy sent to college by a mechanic seldom dreams of learning mechanical engineering to build upon the foundation his father has laid, that in years to come he may figure as a contractor or a consulting engineer. The Negro girl who goes to college hardly wants to return to her mother if she is a washerwoman, but this girl should come back with sufficient knowledge of physics and chemistry and business administration to use her mother’s work as a nucleus for a modern steam laundry. A white professor of a university recently resigned his position to become rich by running a laundry for Negroes in a Southern city. A Negro college instructor would have considered such a suggestion an insult. The so-called education of Negro college graduates leads them to throw away opportunities which they have and to go in quest of those which they do not find.”

I understand times have changed and the workforce has conformed to accommodate a tech-savvy generation, but there are still some areas that technology just cannot extend to. So, our children need to learn how to go to school to get more than a degree. Training children to learn year-round to pass a test is not equipping them with any substance. Our youth need to be educated on basic survival tools necessary for working and competing in a growing workforce. If you don’t believe me look at the statistics on the many who have degrees and remain unemployed. But, one thing about it, if a person has a trade, it will allow for the opportunity to provide for a family, even in the absence of a degree.

I see it all the time, young Blacks and even some old, will turn down their nose at jobs they feel are “beneath them” while holding on to the hope of a six-figure salary which may never come. One thing life has taught me that the value of a dollar does not matter where it comes from, it will still spend the same. Meaning whether you make a living mopping and sweeping floors or working for the White House, you can reach the same level as the next person and no one bank is going to ask you where you got the money from to pay your mortgage. They won’t turn down janitor’s mortgage and car note payments no more than they won’t turn down a CEO’s or a President’s.


Latest Articles


Search our archive of past issues Receive our Latest Updates
* indicates required

October 16, 2023, HOUSTON, TX – Congressional Candidate Amanda Edwards has raised over $1 million in less than 4 months, a substantial sum that helps bolster the frontrunner status of the former At-Large Houston City Council Member in her bid for U.S. Congress. Edwards raised over $433,000 in Q3 of 2023. This strong Q3 report expands on a successful Q2 where Edwards announced just 11 days after declaring her candidacy that she had raised over $600,000. With over $829,000 in cash-on-hand at the end of the September 30th financial reporting period, Edwards proves again that she is the clear frontrunner in the race. “I am beyond grateful for the strong outpouring of support that will help me to win this race and serve the incredible people of the 18th Congressional District,” said Edwards. “We are at a critical juncture in our nation’s trajectory, and we need to send servant leaders to Congress who can deliver the results the community deserves. The strong support from our supporters will help us to cultivate an 18th Congressional District where everyone in it can thrive.” Edwards said. “Amanda understands the challenges that the hard-working folks of the 18th Congressional District face because she has never lost sight of who she is or where she comes from; she was born and raised right here in the 18th Congressional District of Houston,” said Kathryn McNiel, spokesperson for Edwards’ campaign. Edwards has been endorsed by Higher Heights PAC, Collective PAC, Krimson PAC, and the Brady PAC. She has also been supported by Beto O’Rourke, among many others. About Amanda: Amanda is a native Houstonian, attorney and former At-Large Houston City Council Member. Amanda is a graduate of Eisenhower High School in Aldine ISD. Edwards earned a B.A. from Emory University and a J.D. from Harvard Law School. Edwards practiced law at Vinson & Elkins LLP and Bracewell LLP before entering public service. Edwards is a life-long member of St. Monica Catholic Church in Acres Homes. For more information, please visit

As September 13th rolls around, we extend our warmest birthday wishes to the creative powerhouse, Tyler Perry, a man whose indomitable spirit and groundbreaking work have left an indelible mark on the world of entertainment. With his multifaceted talents as an actor, playwright, screenwriter, producer, and director, Tyler Perry has not only entertained but also inspired audiences worldwide, particularly within the African-American community, where his influence and role have been nothing short of powerful. Born in New Orleans, Louisiana, in 1969, Tyler Perry’s journey to stardom was a path riddled with adversity. Raised in a turbulent household, he found refuge in writing, using it as a therapeutic outlet. This period of introspection gave rise to one of his most iconic creations, Madea, a vivacious, no-nonsense grandmother who would later become a beloved figure in Perry’s works, offering a unique blend of humor and profound life lessons. Despite facing numerous challenges, including rejection and financial struggles, Perry’s determination and unwavering belief in his abilities propelled him forward. In 1992, he staged his first play, “I Know I’ve Been Changed,” which, although met with limited success, was a pivotal moment in his career. Unfazed by initial setbacks, Perry continued to hone his craft, and by 1998, he had successfully produced a string of stage plays that showcased his storytelling prowess.

Calling all teenage student-athletes! If you have dreams of playing college soccer and wish to represent an HBCU, the HBCU ID Camp is your golden opportunity. From 8 am to 5 pm on November 11-12, Houston Sports Park will transform into a hub for aspiring male and female soccer players. Coaches from HBCUs across the nation will be present to evaluate, scout, and offer valuable feedback. Moreover, they might even spot the next soccer prodigy to join their collegiate soccer programs. This camp is not just about honing your soccer skills but also a chance to connect with the HBCU soccer community. You’ll learn the ins and outs of what it takes to excel on the field and in the classroom, which is crucial for a college athlete. The HBCU ID Camp is an excellent platform to network with coaches, learn from experienced athletes, and take the first steps toward your college soccer journey. To secure your spot at this incredible event, don’t forget to register [here](insert registration link). Space is limited to 120 participants, so make sure to reserve your place before it’s too late. It’s time to turn your dreams of playing college soccer into a reality.

Scroll to Top