On May 28, 1901, the Sixth Annual Conference for the Study of Negro Problems was held at Atlanta University. Despite being held more than a century ago, the Conference developed a full report that reads eerily like something that could have been published just last week in Ebony or Black Enterprise as it pertains to the plight of African American people, especially in the realm of education.
In his brilliant September 1903 essay entitled The Talented Tenth, W.E.B. DuBois wrote:
“We call the attention of the Nation to the fact that less than one million of the three million Negro children of school age are at present regularly attending school, and these attend a session which lasts only a few months.
“We are to-day deliberately rearing millions of our citizens in ignorance, and at the same time limiting the rights of citizenship by educational qualifications. This is unjust. Half the black youth of the land have no opportunities open to them for learning to read, write and cipher. In the discussion as to the proper training of Negro children after they leave the public schools, we have forgotten that they are not yet decently provided with public schools.”
“Propositions are beginning to be made in the South to reduce the already meagre school facilities of Negroes. We congratulate the South on resisting, as much as it has, this pressure, and on the many millions it has spent on Negro education. But it is only fair to point out that Negro taxes and the Negroes’ share of the income from indirect taxes and endowments have fully repaid this expenditure, so that the Negro public school system has not in all probability cost the white taxpayers a single cent since the war.
“This is not fair. Negro schools should be a public burden, since they are a public benefit. The Negro has a right to demand good common school training at the hands of the States and the Nation since by their fault he is not in position to pay for this himself.”
So, 108 years later, I ask you:
Are we still deliberately rearing millions of citizens in ignorance and at the same time limiting the rights of citizenship by educational qualifications?
Maybe, times ain’t changed that much!
Read, learn, and share………Have a Family Meeting!