March 29, 2007

Bring Black Back

The new book by W.D. Wright, The Crisis of the Black Intellectual, contains the following passage on page 311.

"Today there is no general Black leadership and the Black political body is fragmented isolated, individualistic, fanciful, delusional, susceptible to posturing, and has no real sense of engaging with Black politics that are designed to help Black people in America, specifically those millions still ‘stuck at the bottom.’ What could interrupt this situation and force Blacks back to a general leadership and to a consciousness of Black politics would be the emergence of new and differently oriented local Black leaders. This would include some individuals drawn from those ‘stuck at the bottom.’ There are enough Black local leaders, community organizers, and activists who could initiate this new and different leadership across the country and who could consciously and actively seek to recruit and train individuals ‘up from varied misery’ for local leadership."
There is a group of such leaders coming together at the Bring Black Back conference in Atlanta, GA on April 20-21. The group wants to develop and implement a more effective leadership model that better addresses the needs of African Americans who are disconnected from the mainstream in the USA and across the African Diaspora. This leadership model will address the need for more effective political action, and grassroots economic development that benefits African American communities – primarily in urban areas. They seek to address the "authentic needs" of African American communities, and place a high priority on Africentric education as a foundation for our children.

The Bring Back Black gathering comprises Black folks who have been working for decades empowering our people. They do their work quietly and without fanfare. They work by building their own businesses, opening their own schools, and being serious about their political involvement. They do their work by meeting payrolls from which their Black employees take care of their families. They do it by standing up and speaking out against injustice and inequity. They do it by sacrificing their time and their resources for the collective cause of Black people.

It turns out that one of the first gatherings of this group occurred in Cincinnati, OH. The next gathering is later this month at the Bring Back Black conference in Atlanta, GA. Care to share your comments on this grassroots effort?


claudia said...

Interesting post and website, I must say. I had a couple of questions, have you examined the current data for charter school in the African American community and black universities? Check out the HFT (Houston Federation of Teachers) website and look at the recent findings. Essentially, you are going to find what Garvy figured out that the devil is in the details. Given the same conditions Black children still score 15% (min.) lower on tests. Did you hear about the 5th graders having group in their class room? There needs to be a change in mindset for this to work, but it is worth a try.

credo said...

I believe I interviewed Mr. Clingman on this movement. I believe if we made a conscious decision to support African-American businesses, more jobs could be created for our children.

Unknown said...

Claudia - I have not done research on charter schools in the African American communities. I know that the public schools (not exclusive to charter schools) in many, if not most, African American communities are doing poorly. This is the case here in Cincinnati. I've read similiar reports for Detroit and Oakland CA. I am guessing from your comment that similiar bad stats are coming out of the Houston school district. Is that your point?

I did hear about the 5th graders having group sex in the classroom. Oddly enough, I assumed it was white children.

In any case, I agree that our mindset in our community needs to be jumpstarted. Bring Black Back might be an effort that moves us in a positive direction.

Credo - Jim Clingman is good people. I've worked with him on Black Million Dollar Club and MATAH (now MATTAH). His column is widely published around the nation. Was your interview for an article that you published on your blog?

peace, Villager

Anonymous said...

I love the concept behind this but I am always skeptical of Africentric education as a basis of improving our lots. I mean is there empirical evidence that taking this route will advance our cause? wouldn't it be better to adopt the model other communities have done in just practicing for tests?

When we say Africentric whose model exactly are we using? What happens to more Conservative members of the black community who don't agree with the Pan African models which tend to dominate such models?

I am so going to buy that book, but I also look forward to some evidence that can so prove me wrong, because I have seen this before!!!

Time will tell. I hope it proves me wrong.

claudia said...

Thanks for the response! Houston has two programs for charter education that have sparked the country but alot of it gets funded by private organizations. Principals get trained at Berkeley, teachers are hired fresh out of college and trained during the summer (TFA), and there is a network of support. That's not the case for the majority of the charter schools for many reasons. While I do agree that a school with black pride as the common theme would be awesome, it has to have alot of support. They also make the parents sing contracts of involvement and the child will get kicked out if the parent doesn't follow through (not happening int he public school environment.) The story hit home because I watch my kids come in singing the stripper song, unedited. White/brown/black/yellow, that has to have some influence on our young minds. So the question then becomes, what is exactly to allow into this concept? does rap qualify? Like David said, do we only focus on achievements of African Americans or do we qualify all the black people in the world? What about the staff? This happened to the black theatre during Harlem Renaissance and to Garvy. could they have succeeded if they had a better grasp of identity and goals? I don't know.

Diriki said...

I'm more than excited about this new organiztion because I feel its about time there is a collective group of people getting together trying to solve some of our races problems as opposed to a scattered bunch of people with their individual efforts.

As for the Afrocentric schools, which I am a graduate of one, I think they are also an excellent idea. The more conservative black people can say what they want about that style of learning, but being a youth myself and "growing up black" as opposed to multiracial was the best thing that ever happened to me! I think if Black people are ever going to get anything done, they have to teach the children their history in an outright unapologetic fashion in much the same way Jewish people do.

I'm excited that there is a possibility for a change now, whereas there used to just be "hope."

Unknown said...

David - I'm not an expert in the educational system, however, I don't think that learning to take tests is a mark of true education. Success should be a free-thinking young person with good character and good self-esteem. Being able to take a test shouldn't be the goal in my view. In any case, the whole issue of public education is a valid one. I'm glad to see that the Bring Black Conference has it as a working part of their agenda.

Claudia - Thank you for sharing more information on the Houston experience. Further discussion on ways to improve the public education system is important as that is where most of our children go for the formative years of their life. The thing I like best about the Houston school(s) you describe is the contract that they sign with the parents. Parental involvement is critical component of success for our young people.

diriki - Welcome to the Electronic Village. I hope that you will visit with us often!