During my nearly two decades of working as an African-American Studies Professor, I have learned myriad lessons regarding the educational process and its impact upon the minds, imagination, aspirations, and psyche of Black people; one of the most obvious and far-reaching lessons is found in the unfortunate reality that African-Americans are bereft of any understanding of their familial history. Although many outside of our community will protest this fact, the unfortunate reality is that the typical African-American is better versed in the history of other races than his own; engagement in the K-16 American educational institutions and its curriculum ensure the continuation of this reality.

It is this reality that forces me to brace myself for the first day of each semester; I already know that it will be a day that a new class of students will invariably reveal their ignorance of and lack of desire to engage African-American History. Considering that I am currently employed at a Historically Black University, one would expect my students to be excited at the prospect of reading Chinua Achebe’s, Things Fall Apart or Alex Haley’s classic monograph, The Autobiography of Malcolm X. Unfortunately, you would be disappointed as students express their resistance to both tomes via a groan of disapproval. Often a student will assume the persona of a modern-day Simon Cyrene, the figure who carried Jesus cross for him, and foolishly challenge my selection of The Autobiography of Malcolm X thinking that his refusal to read a book about a ‘Black Moslem’ earns him a crown in Heaven.

Considering that such antics are repeated every semester, I am prepared to address them via a simple question that illuminates the flaws found within their prior educational experience, particularly as it deals with their exposure to African-Americans. The question is a relatively mundane simple one of, “How many of you have read Anne Frank?” Invariably, every hand in the cavernous auditorium rises. I then ask the predominantly Black audience; “Now which of these texts, The Diary of Anne Frank or The Autobiography of Malcolm X do you think is more applicable to your life? The story of a Jewish girl hiding in a closet or the one that follows the life of Black man in America who to this day is revered by your people?” Nary is a word of protest uttered by my students.

I take this momentary pause to re-engage the local Simon Cyrene, who invariably behaves as if my selection of The Autobiography of Malcolm X is part of a large plan to proselytize to Christians and put them on the highway to hell, and ask if he has read Anne Frank’s story. He answers affirmatively. I then query, “So I am to take it that you are Jewish?” Driving home the point that it is not Malcolm X’s religious background that he has a problem with, if it were, he would likewise have protested reading a text revolving around a Jewish girl; truthfully, one of the primary catalyst to my students resistance to engaging The Autobiography of Malcolm X is that they have learned to loathe and discount African-Americans; their attitude relates a deep disdain that pivots upon the question of what have their people ever contributed to society. Although it is often not commented upon, it is possible for African-Americans to hate themselves with the same zeal that members of the Klu Klux Klan possess. In fact, the appearance of such bias is predictable considering that both groups have similar limited exposure to African-American historical contributions and contemporary worth.

I have learned that there are certain statements that must be forthrightly stated when discussing matters such as this, so I am forthrightly stating that I have no problem with students reading The Diary of Anne Frank, I personally considered the text to be significant enough to have visited the location that inspired the story. Hence, you will never find me refuting that Anne Frank’s story is an indispensable part of Human history; however, I am educated enough to recognize that such recognition is also due to African-Americans stories as well, particularly The Autobiography of Malcolm X.

My primary issue in regards to this matter flows from an understanding of education’s impact upon the mind. Considering that humans are social beings, meaning that we learned everything that we “know” through either personal experience or the lessons of others, our entire reality is determined by the teachings of others. Put simply, the education that we receive goes a great deal toward us making sense of the world. Hence, the decision of what type of curriculum should be dispensed in the process of molding the minds of Americans in our K-16 educational centers should not be taken lightly.

Unfortunately, those who are deciding curriculum offerings for American school children were raised in a system that showed extreme disdain for African-Americans, hence, it is only natural that they would continue that tradition; put simply, they know no other way to be. If permitted, I would love to ask the committees and decision makers that determine the worth of Anne Frank’s story and the worthlessness of The Autobiography of Malcolm X the following questions.

A. What is your rationale for including the diary of Anne Frank on the must read list and not The Autobiography of Malcolm X?

B. Why do you think that Anne Frank’s story is more valuable than Malcolm X’s?

C. What impact do you think that a K-16 educational experience that is devoid of any African-American books has upon the minds of students regardless of their racial identity or ethnic background?

D. What does it mean when school districts fail to include any classic stories that center upon African-Americans or the African-American experience?

Although the consequences of African-Americans not learning their history is obvious: low self-esteem, lack of knowledge of self, and being turned off from the discipline of history, if not the entire educational experience in its totality. African-American children are not the only population damaged when the African-American story is left out of the standard American History/Social Studies curriculum; it damages each child, regardless of racial identity in the following ways:

A. It allows for the development of woeful ignorance in regards to African- Americans and their historical experience.

B. Gives the impression that persons of African descent have never contributed anything to society; thereby, allowing for racism to grow like a wildfire.

C. The lack of any understanding of the African-American experience or contributions throughout the annals of time severely taints any racial discussions.

It is out of a desperate desire to cease the seemingly never-ending racial animosity between groups that I call for those who select text to be shared with American school children, regardless of their racial/ethnic identity, to consider the stories of myriad races and groups. History clearly dictates that the only weapon we have against ignorance is education. Considering such truth, it is long overdue for American children, including African-American children, to have access to classic African-American texts and authors, it is truly the only weapon that we have against racial animosity and angst in the new millennium.

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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 www.edwardsforhouston.com

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.

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