Education for Africans in
And this view of their education becomes more important when we look upon the work which a large portion of them are destined to do in their Fatherland. There they will not be able to succeed as mere imitators of the European. And yet this is what, for the most part, they are becoming, by the very condition of their training, in America. The effect of the instruction received by our people directly from their white teachers, and indirectly from their surroundings, is to induce an accretive growth, and not a development from within — to impress upon them a mould and not to give them inward vigor. But in the work to be done in Africa they will need a great deal more than the thin veneering. which answers all their practical needs, while they remain in America, and are not forced by the exigencies of their circumstances to 'retire upon themselves.'
The proper Negro is in Africa, and only in co-operation with him will the American Negro succeed in constructing the much-needed African nationality. I have travelled among Negroes in all parts of the world. I have seen them under Anglo-Saxon, Celtic, Scandinavian and Semitic rule. I have lived in the United States, in the West Indies, in Venezuela; I have travelled in Syria, Egypt, and in the interior of Africa, and I testify that the manhood of the race is in the heart of Africa the basis upon which the African national superstructure is to be erected of materials imported no doubt in large proportions from the Western Hemisphere. During my travels in the interior of Africa, I have met men, both Pagan and Mohammedan, to whom as well from their physical as their mental characteristics, one voluntarily and instinctively feels like doing reverence. . .
The best of the African peoples have seldom been seen in foreign lands. As a rule, it was from the servile class the inferior tribes that America was furnished with slaves. The higher classes very rare]y fell into the hands of the slave-traders. Among the blacks in America, now, I can always tell the men whose ancestors in Africa were of the servile class. . . .
Even 'in the unhealthy swamps of the West Coast,' I have seen men who would grace any court in Europe, and women whose form any artist would covet. Notwithstanding the so-called savagery of Ashantee, and the alleged atrocities of Dahomey, there is a future for this race, which will be peculiar in the history of humanity, if not in what the world calls glory, yet in usefulness to mankind; and in looking forward to that future, I feel proud that I am a member of this race.
— Edward Wilmot Blyden (1878)
First of all, we must note among American Negroes certain persistent culture patterns: the determination to educate their children; . . . the refusal, despite overwhelming temptation, to adopt entirely white American standards as to the good, the beautiful and the true . . . . Take for instance the current problem of the education of our children. By the law of the land today  they should be admitted to the public schools. If and when they are admitted to these schools, . . . Negro teachers will become rarer and in many cases will disappear. Negro children will be . . . taught under unpleasant, if not discouraging, circumstances. Even more largely than today they will fall out of school, cease to enter high school, and fewer and fewer will go to college. Theoretically Negro universities will disappear. Negro history will be taught less or not at all and . . . Negroes will remember their white or indian ancestors and quite forget their Negro forebearers. . . . long before the year 2000, there will be no school segregation on the basis of race. The deficiency in knowledge of Negro history and culture, however, will remain and this danger must be met or else American Negroes will disappear. . . .
— W.E.B. DuBois, 1948 and 1960
In the same way that we break beyond false boundaries of Western colonialism, attempting to re-create our essential Pan-African unity, expressing our solidarity with the larger pro-human struggles, so, too, our truth demands that we reject the artificial barriers of the academic disciplines to seek the human unity which underlies the experience of our people . . . we deny a priori validity of methodological disciplines, concepts, and “fields” which have been established without our participation, and which have often worked against the best intellectual and political interests of the African peoples. . . . Here again, examples abound of black scholars who have acted out this element of the struggle in their own lives, who have moved continuously beyond, and sometimes against, the disciplines assigned to them by the university. Instead, they have allowed the experience of our people to become the organizing reality. Disciplines, fields, and concepts have been either ignored and rejected, or transformed, restructured, and taken to higher levels of usefulness in their lives and work.
— Vincent Harding, 1974
(Positive Education Always Corrects Errors)
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