by Jonathan Gramling
by Heidi M. Pascual
Columns & Features
Fulfill History and VOTE!
by Jamala Rogers
Two of the primary foci of the modern Civil Rights Movement — modern because the fight for freedom began when the first African entered America in bondage in
1619 — were education and voting.
Education was important because literacy opened up a world on imagination and possibilities to African Americans to improve their standard of living and quality of
life. Education was the difference between working as a day laborer and operating on people as a surgeon.
Education was also important because it allowed African Americans to seize the weapons of “civilized” warfare in the political battleground of America. It was the
finest orators like Frederick Douglass, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. and Julian Bond who set everyday people’s imaginations on fire and created a movement of people
that would smash the apparatus of America’s apartheid system. While Douglass, King and Bond were extremely talented people, it was education that unleashed that
talent on behalf of the Civil Rights Movement.
It was the master and the overseers who understood the power of education and what the implications were if African Americans became educated and learned how
to become free. And so teaching African slaves how to read was made a crime. And even after the end of slavery, the “separate, but equal” schools for African
American children languished so that the children could work the fields of cotton during their youth — and throughout adulthood. And uneducated class of field
laborers maintained the old Southern lifestyle for the owner — master — of the plantations.
It was Brown vs. Board of Education in 1954 that struck a blow against this apartheid system that kept African Americans uneducated and created the hope — but
hardly the reality — of equal educational opportunities for all Americans.
Even today we fight this system on inferior education as the funding for public schools languishes and funds are siphoned of to private, predominantly Euro-American
schools. And anyone who says that education isn’t important or that getting an education is “trying to be white” is a slap in the face of their ancestors, the African
scientists and mathematicians of the Middle Ages to the African Americans who gave their lives so that African Americans could get an education to the great African
American scientists, artists and others who have risen to the top of their fields and society through education. To downgrade and ridicule education is an act of self-
hatred because without it, one is doomed to be a day laborer or a cook at a fast food restaurant. Education is a key to freedom. -- READ MORE
|Vol. 14 No. 3
FEBRUARY 11, 2019