“Towards an African Education: Selected Writings on the Education and Development of Children of African Heritage” edited by Mahmoud El-Kati, is the newest offering from In Black Ink.
The book launched in October in conjunction with In Black Ink’s Sankofa Series event “Educating Our Children in the 21st Century.” The showcase had the trappings of a richly grassroots aesthetic, enlisting many culturally noted individuals.
Keynote speaker was Third World Press founder Dr. Haki Mahubuti—once known as literary legend of the Black Arts Movement Don L. Lee. Mahmoud El-Kati delivered the address, “Towards an African Education: An Overview.”
Serving as emcee was local media powerhouse Lissa Jones, producer-creator-host of KMOJ’s hugely popular “Urban Agenda,” and host of the Givens Foundation for African American literature podcast “Black Market Reads.”
“Towards an African Education” is impressive, to say the least—before you open the book. El-Kati contributing “Towards an African Education: A Critical Essay.” Rekhet Si-Asar of In Black Ink and Papyrus Publishing Inc., Josie Johnson and Dr. Rose Brewer are also contributors.
Educational and engaging, the general tone is academic but not stiff, as the writing tends to be conversationally informative. Something college and high school students wouldn’t mind getting assigned since it’s sagely enlightening without being so densely cerebral.
Revered activist, Johnson, whose memoir “Hope in the Struggle” was published this year, contributed “A Historical Review of the Role Black Parents and the Black Community Played in Providing Schooling for Black Children in the South 1865 – 1954.”
Excerpted from her mid-1980s dissertation, Johnson attests, “Because the history of Black people is often ignored or presented in an inadequate manner, the extent of the role Black parents played in providing schooling, during the slavery years and beyond, has not been available even to some scholars otherwise knowledgeable about Black interest in education. The fact that Black parents and the Black community were significant factors in the provision of schooling for their children needs additional documentation and dissemination.”
Dr. Brewer is, among other accomplishments, a noted professor of African American and African studies at the University of Minnesota. Her “The Struggle Continues for an African Education” issues, in part, an indictment against America for a system that, in the guise of social progress, covertly sustains age-old bigotry, forcing the fight for education to go on after all this time.
“This turning away from educational justice is expressed in a willing embrace of dismantling laws and government policies, which support educational equality,” laments Brewer. “No need for these since a segment of the society proclaims this is now expendable in a so-called “colorblind society or they more vulgarly assert Black children are the source of their own lack of educational achievement.
“This shift in articulation of what the stakes are should also be thought about in the context of what I call transformed economic space with deep consequences for Black educational inequality in the U.S. today.”
“Towards an African Education,” suffice to say, shows In Black Ink’s strong commitment to advance young minds.
A book reading and discussion of “Towards an African Education” with Mahmoud El-Kati and contributors takes place Dec. 7 from 1-3 pm at The Reading Room – Model Cities Brownstone, located at 839 University Ave. W. in St. Paul. For more info, visit inblackink.org.