African American Experience Essay

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The educational experience of African Americans who lived in the south and those who lived in the north was remarkably different. This is because of the nature in which the African Americans and other minorities group were affected. Historically the south was the settlement area for slaves who were brought to work in cotton fields, tobacco farms and textile industries.

For instance first slaves arrived in the south at Jamestown in 1619 their arrival steadily grew until 1790. They worked in areas such as Virginia, Maryland, Kentucky and south/north Carolina.  The slaves were brought in large numbers between 1790 and 1810.

They were also brought in large numbers for the next 50 years later after 1810 hence large population of African American settled to the south (Lanehart, 2001).

On the other hand British settlers settled in the north and formed the new Englanders population. These were pilgrims who came from England that rejected authority of the pope and advocated for biblical principles and faith. These ware advanced by John Calvin, a protestant. The Calvinist advocated for individual literacy where each person is supposed to know how to read and write.

The Calvinist nature of self denial, working hard and personal improvement led to the emergence of businessmen and aristocrats. These made North America highly literate since schools were built, printed literature was available and circulated to several people, trade and information exchange was very high (John, 2005).

Although schools at the beginning did not perform significant role in education process, they were used to supplement teachings children used to receive at home. The white settlers consisting of Manumission Society established schools for the poor that is the African American and Native American (red Indians).

A separate curriculum was developed in which the African free schools were geared towards reforming behavior of the children. The curriculum was based on religion and morality. More so schools attendance was small because the manumission society only selected influential black families which they wanted to impose behavior change to other black families and they succeeded in just few years which were later extended beyond family circles (John, 2005).

By 18th century, there was a revolution that set later distinction of attitudes about society and educational roles.  The North American settlers taught different curriculum to their children and for other population. Women were segregated by virtue of gender and were not educated like the male population but when their husbands left for war or killed they assumed the male responsibility.

This led to establishment of women academies which taught history, literature, languages and domestic arts. These were intended to prepare them for teaching their children (John, 2005).

The Manumission Society and other Protestants moved to other areas of America and changed school organization in the United States. It can be deduced that Boston established classical schools that taught advanced post primary education. It led to emergence of high schools. The emergence of inequality in America rose year by year. Less than 10 percent of women attended schools because of the discriminative and exclusive ideology native white males.

However, this was quite opposite to what the African Americans experienced because segregation was manifested in a racial ideology where strong resistance was experienced from white population against skilled and knowledgeable population of African American (John, 2005).

More so the most liberals also did not want to have both black and white males to learn at the same schools. Reaction from white population was dramatic even becoming violent, black schools were torched and teachers fled for safety. Also black schools curriculum was developed to prepare children for good behavior and manual jobs. Thus the unequal and separate entity was emphasized (John, 2005).

When civil war came to a stop in 1865, the north embarked on reconstruction process of the south in terms of social and political change. It led to the school expansion in the south. Teachers were recruited from the north supplemented by white southerners and black population.

At the same time the federal government established the Freedman’s Bureau that was responsible for supervising integration of freed slaves to free citizens. They were commissioned to provide schools, literary skills and education on citizenship (John, 2005).

Local African Americans were supposed to contribute cash and labor to expand government schools. The enrollment for black children increased significantly though it fluctuated due to southern economy that was struggling. By 1890 about 60 percent of black population had attended school.

The reconstruction process led pt empowerment of black people politically, black legislators advocated for amendment that allowed increased budgetary allocation to black schools. This was not received well with the southern white community who formed terror attacks on leader of reconstruction process. It caused northern white reformers to abandon the exercise as a result of economic recession of 1873 and led to the rise of white supremacy rule.

By late 1870 Hayes agreed to withdraw troops in a bid to get political support that made him reelected and black schooling program stopped (John, 2005).

School disparity between black schools and white schools increasingly widened with the white schools tuition subsided by tax from black population. Only 65 schools for the blacks were built between by 1910. The systems of the education at the southern black schools served the purpose of making children servants throughout their lifetime and create impotence politically and economically.

On the other hand north black population had less than 10 percent enrollment to better opportunities in education but faced difficulty in getting job equivalent to their merits. Hence black community did not enjoy the importance of education. Racism was prime factor in the job market that excluded African Americans.

It was even worse in the south where whit supremacy was dominant.  Therefore, the experience of the African American in both south and north was characterized by frustration as well as disappointments (John 2005).

Currently many schools have adopted different programs to enhance equal educational opportunities for all. This is through the enactment of No Child Behind Act at the federal level that made sure schools were venues of community integration of all children irrespective of racial background, social status and educational achievement among others. However, this law was applicable to public schools only.

The federal system designed these laws that were adopted by other states. Schools were to be management decision involved community leaders and stakeholders within it. The public schools are supposed to offer exceptionally quality education for all children. Teachers are supposed to be qualified and certified.

Recently policies were set to which teachers must attend college degree, sit for certification examination and indicated highly capable of teaching specified subjects. Thus public schools have offered an immense opportunity to all children with different and special needs (Resnick, 2006).

Public schools are also well structured and take account of public interest and accommodate civil right laws as opposed to private schools. Public schools have however been criticized for poor standard, erosion of core subjects and lack of promoting technological advancement during past years (Resnick, 2006).

Cozzens (1998) states that in 1950s racial segregation was a norm in American public schools, a black child called Linda Brown went past a white elementary school that was few meters from her families homestead because the school administration refused to admit her.

Hence parents of Linda filed a case with the help of NACCP (National Association for the Advancement of Colored People) against the board of education. The case was listened and determined by the court in favor of the accuser in 1954 (BFEEER, 2004).

This marked the beginning of reducing the gaps of racial segregation in public schools and by 1972, 91 percent of black children were admitted in the integrated schools. It also led to advancement of racial equality, pluralism and understanding. However, the ruling was limited to certain places such that in big cities racial isolation was not addressed. Also desegregation of public schools was not given specific time (Resnick, 2006).

CONCLUSION

This paper focuses on the experiences of African Americans in their historical context up to the present. It can be deduced that African Americans and minority groups were discriminated from colonial times up to mid 20th century.

Although civil rights movement championed for equal opportunity to all it took several years before African Americans were integrated and desegregation of public places enforced. However there is still need to strengthen the integration of African American in the present society.

REFERENCE

BFEEER. (2004). Brown vs. BOE. Retrieved April 28, 2008, from; http://brownvboard.org/summary/

Cozzens, L. (1998). Brown versus Board of Education. Retrieved April 28, 2008 from http://www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/early-civilrights/brown.html

John, R, L. (2005).  Change in education. Routlege. New Jersey.

Lanehart, L, S. (2001). Socio-cultural & historical context. John Benjamins. Philadelphia.

Resnick, M. (2006). American imperative. Public education centre. Retrieved April 28, 2008

http://www.centerforpubliceducation.org/site/c.kjJXJ5MPIwE/b.1593811/k.514/An_American_Imperative_Public_Education.htm

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