The Role of Black Education
Education is simply the soul of a society as it passes from one generation to next.
In 1773 a time when most African Americans could not read or write a self taught slave from Boston published a collection of literary works entitled,”Poems on the Varies Subjects, Religious and Moral”.
Her name was Phyllis Wheatley, and her collection was the first published works by a person of color.
Read full biography of the life and times of Phyllis Wheatley
The major upsurge in African American education would not come until the Re-Construction Era, when the Freedman’s Bureau and other northern philanthropic and religious organizations would take on the daunting task of educating more than four million newly emancipated slaves.
This is the era that many of our historically black universities were born – Atlanta, Clark, Fisk, Hampton, Lincoln, Morehouse and Spelman. These universities dedicated to the uplift of the African America race, mainly supported by the black church and community groups, educated more than 70% of the early African American teachers.
Another landmark in education occurred in 1881 when Booker T. Washington founded Tuskegee University his university prepared black for vocational and industrial jobs.
In 1904 Mary McLeod Bethune the seventeenth child of former slaves founded Bethune-Cookman College.
The quality of black education improved in the 1950s and 1960s, when Thurgood Marshall proved to the nation that separate couldn’t be equal; when James Meredith, Charlayne Hunter-Gault and other students bravely integrated southern universities.
Because of these heroic icons and institutions, the great grand-children of former slaves are now afforded the opportunity to excel in their of fields endeavor that for a very long time had been closed to people African descent.