“If you teach the Negro that he has accomplished as much good as any other race, he will aspire to equality and justice without regard to race.” — Carter G. Woodson
The Association for the Study of African American Life and History (ASALH), the founders of Black History Month, is hosting its 91st annual Black History Month Luncheon, considered the nation’s premier Black History Month event, with a very important theme: “The Crisis in Black Education.”
The date for this year’s celebration is Saturday, Feb. 25, beginning at 10 a.m. at the Washington Renaissance Hotel, 999 Ninth Street NW, Washington, D.C. Luncheon starts at noon EST.
A special Featured Authors event will showcase several talented authors and their latest works, including Jean Augustine, the first African-Canadian woman to be elected to the Canadian House of Commons and the first to serve in the federal Cabinet. The luncheon’s keynote speaker is Rep. James E. Clyburn of South Carolina and award-winning WUSA-TV news anchor Andrea Roane will serve as emcee.
Established on Sept. 9, 1915, by Dr. Carter G. Woodson, ASALH carries forth the work of its founder, who is considered the “Father of Black History.”
Africans and peoples of African descent are makers of history and co-workers in what W.E.B. Du Bois called, “The Kingdom of Culture.” ASALH’s mission is to create and disseminate knowledge about black history, to be the nexus between the ivory tower and the global public.
The theme for 2017 focuses on the crucial role of education in the history of African-Americans. Woodson understood well the implications associated with the denial of access to knowledge, and he called attention to the crisis that resulted from persistently imposed racial barriers to equal education. The crisis in black education first began in the days of slavery when it was unlawful for slaves to learn to read and write. In pre-Civil War northern cities, free blacks were forced as children to walk long distances past white schools on their way to the one school relegated solely to them. Whether by laws, policies, or practices, racially separated schools remained the norm in America from the late nineteenth century well into our own time.
Throughout the last quarter of the 20th century and continuing today, the crisis in black education has grown significantly in urban neighborhoods where public schools lack resources, endure overcrowding, exhibit a racial achievement gap and have policies that fail to deliver substantive opportunities. The touted benefits of education remain elusive to many blacks of all ages. Tragically, some poorly performing schools serve as pipelines to prison for youths.
Yet, African-American history is rich in centuries-old efforts of resistance to this crisis: the slaves’ surreptitious endeavors to learn; the rise of black colleges and universities after the Civil War; unrelenting battles in the courts; the black history movement; the freedom schools of the 1960s; and local community-based academic and mentorship programs that inspire a love of learning and thirst for achievement. Addressing the crisis in black education should be considered one of the most important goals in America’s past, present and future.
Visit the website of ASALH (https://asalh100.org) for complete details. Support the annual luncheon, the major source of fundraising for ASALH. It makes the work of the staff and volunteers much easier and it is possible for the legacy of Dr. Carter G. Woodson’s dream to continue!
This Friday, hear the executive director, Sylvia Y. Cyrus, as she shares details of the luncheon on “The Lyndia Grant Show” on Radio One, Spirit 1340 at 6 p.m.
Lyndia Grant is the host of “Think on These Things,” a radio talk show on WYCB-AM, 1340, Fridays at 6 p.m. Contact her at 202-518-3192 or email her at firstname.lastname@example.org.