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We Are an African People: Black Power and Independent Education from the 1960s to the Present

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By 1970, more than 60 "Pan African nationalist" schools, from preschools to post-secondary ventures, had appeared in urban settings across the United States. The small, independent enterprises were often accused of teaching hate and were routinely harassed by authorities. Yet these institutions served as critical mechanisms for transmitting black consciousness. Founded by By 1970, more than 60 "Pan African nationalist" schools, from preschools to post-secondary ventures, had appeared in urban settings across the United States. The small, independent enterprises were often accused of teaching hate and were routinely harassed by authorities. Yet these institutions served as critical mechanisms for transmitting black consciousness. Founded by activist-intellectuals, the schools strove not simply to bolster the academic skills and self-esteem of inner-city African-American youth but also to decolonize minds and embody the principles of self-determination and African identity. In We Are An African People, historian Russell Rickford traces the brief lives of these autonomous black institutions created to claim some of the self-determination that the integrationist civil rights movement had failed to provide. Influenced by Third World theorists and anticolonial movements, organizers of the schools saw formal education as a means of creating a vanguard of young activists devoted to the struggle for black political sovereignty throughout the world. Most of the schools were short-lived, but their stories have much to tell us about Pan Africanism as a social and intellectual movement and as a key part of an indigenous black nationalism. A former journalist, Rickford uses a virtually unknown movement to explore black nationhood and a particularly fertile period of political, cultural, and social revitalization that envisioned an alternate society.


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By 1970, more than 60 "Pan African nationalist" schools, from preschools to post-secondary ventures, had appeared in urban settings across the United States. The small, independent enterprises were often accused of teaching hate and were routinely harassed by authorities. Yet these institutions served as critical mechanisms for transmitting black consciousness. Founded by By 1970, more than 60 "Pan African nationalist" schools, from preschools to post-secondary ventures, had appeared in urban settings across the United States. The small, independent enterprises were often accused of teaching hate and were routinely harassed by authorities. Yet these institutions served as critical mechanisms for transmitting black consciousness. Founded by activist-intellectuals, the schools strove not simply to bolster the academic skills and self-esteem of inner-city African-American youth but also to decolonize minds and embody the principles of self-determination and African identity. In We Are An African People, historian Russell Rickford traces the brief lives of these autonomous black institutions created to claim some of the self-determination that the integrationist civil rights movement had failed to provide. Influenced by Third World theorists and anticolonial movements, organizers of the schools saw formal education as a means of creating a vanguard of young activists devoted to the struggle for black political sovereignty throughout the world. Most of the schools were short-lived, but their stories have much to tell us about Pan Africanism as a social and intellectual movement and as a key part of an indigenous black nationalism. A former journalist, Rickford uses a virtually unknown movement to explore black nationhood and a particularly fertile period of political, cultural, and social revitalization that envisioned an alternate society.

39 review for We Are an African People: Black Power and Independent Education from the 1960s to the Present

  1. 5 out of 5

    Haley Keller

    This book is dense. It's offers as much information as you could want, but because it requires that you're thinking and taking in a lot of information, it is not always an easy read. This is a book meant for people who go into it with a high level of interest in its topic. As someone studying to be an educator, I viewed this information as important for me to know and take in. The one thing I struggled with while reading was keeping track of the dates. The various chapters sometimes jump around i This book is dense. It's offers as much information as you could want, but because it requires that you're thinking and taking in a lot of information, it is not always an easy read. This is a book meant for people who go into it with a high level of interest in its topic. As someone studying to be an educator, I viewed this information as important for me to know and take in. The one thing I struggled with while reading was keeping track of the dates. The various chapters sometimes jump around in time, and as someone who struggles to remember dates, I did struggle with keeping track of when things were happening, particularly in comparison to each other. However, that was by far my own failing rather than the book's. I would recommend this book to anyone who is interested in learning about independent black schools in America over time and who isn't afraid of the time commitment that comes from reading this book. It's a nice resource and full of information. I received this book through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. http://hmweasley-blog.blogspot.com/20...

  2. 5 out of 5

    Sarah

    5 stars because this book does an excellent job of cataloguing and documenting a lesser known part of our history. in terms of readability, it's closer to 3 stars for me because it was so many names, dates, times, and I just couldn't keep it all in my head!

  3. 5 out of 5

    Reginald Simms

  4. 5 out of 5

    Will Hornbeck

  5. 5 out of 5

    Kalin Meyer

  6. 4 out of 5

    Holly Genovese

  7. 4 out of 5

    Vivian

  8. 5 out of 5

    Gaiutra Bahadur

  9. 5 out of 5

    Dominique

  10. 5 out of 5

    Renee P

  11. 4 out of 5

    Kjenkins

  12. 5 out of 5

    Qasim

  13. 5 out of 5

    Keisha N. Blain

  14. 4 out of 5

    Renee Leehim

  15. 4 out of 5

    Kenja

  16. 4 out of 5

    Jabriel

  17. 5 out of 5

    Jennifer

  18. 5 out of 5

    m.bryan.welton

  19. 4 out of 5

    Delise

  20. 5 out of 5

    The Literary Apothecary

  21. 5 out of 5

    Kenya

  22. 4 out of 5

    Train The Movement

  23. 5 out of 5

    Bunnita (Worth Reading It?)

  24. 5 out of 5

    Ronda

  25. 4 out of 5

    NVCC Manassas

  26. 4 out of 5

    Bahadir

  27. 4 out of 5

    Martha

  28. 4 out of 5

    Joe

  29. 4 out of 5

    David

  30. 5 out of 5

    Rolf

  31. 5 out of 5

    Adrienne

  32. 4 out of 5

    Becky

  33. 4 out of 5

    Aaron Mcnully

  34. 5 out of 5

    J. Kathryn

  35. 4 out of 5

    Charlie

  36. 4 out of 5

    Taylor

  37. 4 out of 5

    Kailyn Kats

  38. 4 out of 5

    Wakandan Furyan

  39. 4 out of 5

    Brittany J.

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