In , Kunjufu founded and became president of African American Images, a Chicago-based publishing company that offers a culturally relevant curriculum for both students and teachers. He also holds workshops that help parents navigate through an educational system rife with racial bias against their children, who oftentimes find themselves working against teacher expectations. Such teacher assumptions presume criminality, a lack of motivation, and an inherent lack of ability to perform. Instead, Kunjufu believes that Black children need to be exposed to a curriculum that builds on their strengths, affirms their culture and treats them with dignity and compassion. The strong proponent of single-gender classrooms has also addressed, in-depth, the underlying implicit bias that has resulted in so many disparities for African-American girls in two of his books: Educating Black Girls and Raising Black Girls.
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Philosophy[ edit ] Afrocentric education has, as one of its tenets, the decolonization of the African mind. The central objective in decolonizing the African mind is to overthrow the authority that alien traditions may exercise. The term "miseducation" was coined by Dr. Carter G. Woodson to describe the process of systematically depriving African Americans of their knowledge of self.
Woodson believed that miseducation was the root of the problems of the masses of the African-American community and that if the masses of the African-American community were given the correct knowledge and education from the beginning, they would not be in the situation that they find themselves in today. Woodson argues in his book The Mis-Education of the Negro that African Americans often valorize European culture to the detriment of their own culture.
The problem concerning formal education is seen by Afrocentrists to be that African students are taught to perceive the world through the eyes of another culture, and unconsciously learn to see themselves as an insignificant part of their world. The movement for African-centered education is based on the assumption that a school immersed in African traditions, rituals, values, and symbols will provide a learning environment that is more congruent with the lifestyles and values of African-American families.
Blyden used that standpoint to show how the traditional social, industrial, and economic life of Africans untouched by "either European or Asiatic influence", was different and complete in itself, with its own organic wholeness. Casely Hayford commented, "It is easy to see the men and women who walked the banks of the Nile " passing him on the streets of Kumasi. In that university, the history chair would teach Universal history, with particular reference to the part Ethiopia has played in the affairs of the world.
In short, that Africa has nothing to be ashamed of in its place among the nations of the earth. I would make it possible for this seat of learning to be the means of revising erroneous current ideas regarding the African; of raising him in self-respect; and of making him an efficient co-worker in the uplifting of man to nobler effort. In the United States, during the early 20th century and the Harlem Renaissance , many writers and historians gathered in major cities, where they began to work on documenting achievements of Africans throughout history, in United States and Western life.
They began to set up institutions to support scholarly work in African-American history and literature, such as the American Negro Academy now the Black Academy of Letters and Arts , founded in Washington, DC , in Some men were self-taught; others rose through the academic system. Creative writers and artists claimed space for African-American perspectives. Leaders included bibliophile Arthur Schomburg , who devoted his life to collecting literature, art, slave narratives, and other artifacts of the African diaspora.
Schomburg used the money from the sale of his collection for more travel and acquisition of materials. Woodson co-founded the Association for the Study of African American Life and History as it is now called in , as well as The Journal of Negro History , so that scholars of black history could be supported and find venues for their work. They investigated the history of Africa from that perspective.
The article had widespread distribution and influence, as he detailed the achievements of people of African descent. Woodson , an African-American historian, as one of their foundational texts. Woodson critiqued education of African Americans as "mis-education" because he held that it denigrated the black while glorifying the white. For these early Afrocentrists, the goal was to break what they saw as a vicious cycle of the reproduction of black self-abnegation. In the words of The Crisis editor W.
Du Bois, researched West African cultures and attempted to construct a pan-Africanist value system based on West African traditions. In the s Du Bois envisioned and received funding from Ghanaian president Kwame Nkrumah to produce an Encyclopedia Africana to chronicle the history and cultures of Africa. Du Bois died before being able to complete his work. Du Bois inspired a number of authors, including Drusilla Dunjee Houston. The book was a compilation of evidence related to the historic origins of Cush and Ethiopia, and assessed their influences on Greece.
In the U. The work of Cheikh Anta Diop became very influential. In the following decades, histories related to Africa and the diaspora gradually incorporated a more African perspective. Since that time, Afrocentrists have increasingly seen African peoples as the makers and shapers of their own histories.
They are all props we have fashioned at different times to help us get on our feet again. But for the moment it is in the nature of things that we may need to counter racism with what Jean-Paul Sartre has called an anti-racist racism, to announce not just that we are as good as the next man but that we are much better. In his article "Eurocentrism vs.
Afrocentrism", US anthropologist Linus A. This is indeed the fear of Europeans. Afrocentrism is a state of mind, a particular subconscious mind-set that is rooted in the ancestral heritage and communal value system. In some cases, it has created cultures arrayed against each other or even against themselves. But hearing the voice of African American culture with all of its attendant parts is one way of creating a more sane society and one model for a more humane world.
He wrote that its influence ranged from sensible proposals about inclusion of more African material in school curricula to what he called senseless claims about African primacy in all major technological achievements.
Glazer argued that Afrocentricity had become more important due to the failure of mainstream society to assimilate all African Americans. Anger and frustration at their continuing separation gave black Americans the impetus to reject traditions that excluded them.
Afrocentrists contend that race still exists as a social and political construct. Further, according to the views of some Afrocentrists, European history has commonly received more attention within the academic community than the history of sub-Saharan African cultures or those of the many Pacific Island peoples. Afrocentrists contend it is important to divorce the historical record from past racism.
By doing so, Afrocentricity can support all forms of multiculturalism. For example, the Afrocentric method can be used to research African indigenous culture. Queeneth Mkabela writes in that the Afrocentric perspective provides new insights for understanding African indigenous culture, in a multicultural context.
According to Mkabela and others, the Afrocentric method is a necessary part of complete scholarship and without it, the picture is incomplete, less accurate, and less objective. For example, religious movements such as Vodou are now less likely to be characterized as "mere superstition", but understood in terms of links to African traditions.
In recent years Africana Studies or Africology  departments at many major universities have grown out of the Afrocentric "Black Studies" departments formed in the s. Rather than focusing on black topics in the African diaspora often exclusively African American topics , these reformed departments aim to expand the field to encompass all of the African diaspora. They also seek to better align themselves with other University departments and find continuity and compromise between the radical Afrocentricity of the past decades and the multicultural scholarship found in many fields today.
Uhuru Hotep, co-director of the Kwame Ture Leadership Institute, established an ethnocentric approach to leadership specifically based on the four principles of restoration of sovereignty, Sankofa, Maat restoration, and Johari Sita installation. Restoration of sovereignty is a concept that surrounds cultural, political and economic entities of society. Sovereignty is synyonmous with self-determination. In the tradition of a self-sufficient creation of communities, seshemet leadership was developed to restore the Moroon tradition of kilombo construction.
Sankofa is a leadership technique of Ghana that emphasizes living in the present to learn from the past. This concept requires its followers to learn about the contributions of their ancestral leaders and to continue with their struggles.
It mandates that African centered leaders reconnect with their ancestors. Maat restoration is a collaboration of the central themes of truth, justice, order, harmony, balance, reciprocity and propriety. This concept is characterized by the restoring of public confidence and the promotion of psychological and fiscal prosperity among the leaders and their followers.
Johari Sita is a multifaceted Afrocentric approach to leadership-followership development. It can best be described as the processes, procedures and practices of ACL-F. This model of leadership is the foundation for nationwide workshops called "Preparing African Youth for 21st Century Leadership and Service.
Jawanza Kunjufu Biography
He is the founder and president of African American Images, a Chicago-based publishing company that sponsors dozens of workshops intended to help educators and parents develop practical solutions to the problems of child-rearing in what he perceives to be a racist society. Kunjufu holds advanced degrees in business and economics that have enabled him to place the problems of black society in the larger context of national and international economic models. Born on June 15, , in Chicago, Kunjufu—who adopted a Swahili name in —credits his parents, Eddie and Mary Brown, with affording him the encouragement, discipline, and stability that would later become the core of his program for the renewal of black society. As a young man, Kunjufu was urged by his father to volunteer his time at a number of different jobs, working without pay in exchange for learning firsthand how businesses and skilled craftsmen went about their work. Kunjufu attended Illinois State University at Normal and received a bachelor of science degree in economics in
He is the founder and president of African American Images, a Chicago -based publishing company that sponsors dozens of workshops intended to help educators and parents develop practical solutions to the problems of child-rearing in what he perceives to be a racist society. Kunjufu holds advanced degrees in business and economics that have enabled him to place the problems of black society in the larger context of national and international economic models. Born on June 15, , in Chicago, Kunjufu—who adopted a Swahili name in —credits his parents, Eddie and Mary Brown, with affording him the encouragement, discipline, and stability that would later become the core of his program for the renewal of black society. As a young man, Kunjufu was urged by his father to volunteer his time at a number of different jobs, working without pay in exchange for learning firsthand how businesses and skilled craftsmen went about their work.