Mary McLeod Bethune

Recent Articles

The tragedy of guns in the streets

Another senseless death

Maya Angelou passed May 28. She had her finger “on the pulse of morning.” She had her “caged bird” sing a prayer of freedom to rise above the “bitter, twisted lies” people of color must contend with, for, as she wrote, “Still I rise.”

The caged bird sings in classic Black gospel fashion, lifting up a prayer through its tears, yearning to be free. May our leaders raise their song for freedom too, rather than acquiesce to the gun songs that cage our young people or the bureaucratic dependency programs that cage their parents. A 17-year-old was shot and killed June 1st on the 1600 block of Newton Avenue N. His death fosters another round of talking about solutions but not attempting to open cage doors. Unless you have lost a child to violence, its hard to know and understand the feeling. Continue Reading →

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Attack on the Teachers Federation Why have friends become foes?

“The whole world opened to me when I learned to read.” — Mary McLeod Bethune


For decades, a workable relationship between organized labor and African American leadership existed in Minnesota. They do not necessarily speak with one voice, but, regarding financial consideration, they do. But for the last decade, this relationship has frayed, not in terms of financial considerations but in terms of standing up for real education for African American children. Legendary civil rights activist Nellie Stone Johnson clearly stated: no education, no job, no housing. Martin Luther King, Jr. said that although many Blacks were not qualified (lacking education and training), we are qualifiable through education and training. Continue Reading →

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MPS revising Black history curriculum


Mahmoud El-Kati calls for a ‘radical’ change to educating youth

By Charles Hallman

Staff Writer



Following two recent incidents that occurred at Minneapolis high schools — a Black doll hung by the neck from a string at Washburn High School and a cafeteria fight at South High School — Minneapolis Public Schools (MPS) Chief Communications Officer Stan Alleyne said, “There is a new level of intensity and urgency” around the importance of teaching Black history in the schools,

The two incidents are “about misunderstandings and about ignorance” of Black culture, said Mahmoud El-Kati, who has taught Black history classes at North High School for 18 years. “All children should learn the wisdom of Frederick Douglass, [W.E.B.] DuBois, Mary Church Terrill, Ida B. Wells and Mary McLeod Bethune, Martin [Luther King, Jr.] and Malcolm [X], and God knows how many [other] people we can call on who are very important in American democracy. These children haven’t heard their names, [as well as] too many adults.”

Superintendent Bernadeia Johnson was unavailable for comment, but Alleyne pointed out, “The superintendent has spoken numerous times on how important it was to take another look at what we are doing. We have to make sure that students are learning things that are important for them to learn.”

The current Minnesota K-12 Social Studies Standards has four key components: citizenship and government, geography, economics and history. Students in kindergarten through third grade are required “to master fundamental understandings” of social studies, then study North America geography (grade four), North American history (grade five), Minnesota studies (grade six), U.S. Studies 1800-present (grade seven) and global studies (grade eight). Continue Reading →

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Black wisdom: for our collective prosperity in 2012

Critical thinking in the Black Independence Movement

“We have a powerful potential in our youth, and we must have the courage to change old ideas and practices so that we may direct their power toward good ends,” a lesson from Mary McLeod Bethune. This year, we can work to broaden our own experiences and, when possible, to broaden the experiences of those around us. Our kids need to know that there is more to the world than Minneapolis and St. Paul. If our kids never see a play at the only Black theater in the Midwest, our very own Penumbra, how will our people help to shape and create the next August Wilson? Continue Reading →

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