Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 15: Vocational Guidance

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

The focus of this chapter is the question of how Afro-Americans can make a living, conduct business and maybe thrive. Woodson’s main theme of the book is a criticism of the education of African-Americans (thus the Mis-Education of the Negro). He continues his criticism of vocational schools for Blacks saying they don’t provide any value to their students. “For example, some of our schools are still teaching individual garment making which offers no future today except in catering to the privileged and rich classes. ” Then he mentions,” The education of the masses has not enabled them to advance very far in making a living and has not developed in the Negro the power to change this condition. It is revealed that in many establishments the Negro when a young man starts as a janitor or porter and dies in old age in the same position.

Negroes do not need some one to guide them to what persons of another race have developed. They must be taught to think and develop something for themselves. It is most pathetic to see Negroes begging others for a chance as we have been doing recently. “Do not force us into starvation.” we said. “Let us come into your stores and factories and do a part of what you are doing to profit by our trade.” The Negro as a slave developed this fatal sort of dependency; and, restricted mainly to menial service and drudgery during nominal freedom, he has not grown out of it. Now the Negro is facing the ordeal of either learning to do for himself or to die out gradually in the bread line in the ghetto.

And once again, he is critical of the ‘highly educated’ Black person.

Our advanced teachers, like “most highly educated” Negroes, pay little attention to the things about them except when the shoe begins to pinch on one or the other side. Unless they happen to become naked they never think of the production of cotton or wool; unless they get hungry they never give any thought to the output of wheat or corn; unless their friends lose their jobs they never inquire about the outlook for coal or steel, or how these things affect the children whom they are trying to teach. In other words, they live in a world, but they are not of it. How can such persons guide the youth without knowing how these things affect the Negro community?

Another form of mis-education is what,” the Negro has learned from others how to spend money much more rapidly than he has learned how to earn it.” Then there is the mis-education of imitation and duplication as opposed to invention. He has several success stories of invention. A furniture maker in North Carolina, a man in Cincinnati who created corded beds, and a woman in  Columbia, MO who made some exceptional biscuits which had all races coming to her door. This reminds me of something in Booker T. Washington’s book Up From Slavery, where he talked up Tuskegee’s brick making facilities. Invent or find a product to make that is of good quality, excel in it’s creation and Black and White dollars will make you a success.

Black Anti-Blackness

So there’s this:

….For example, not long ago a committee of Negroes in a large city went to the owner of a chain store in their neighborhood and requested that he put a Negro manager in charge. This man replied that he doubted that the Negroes themselves wanted such a thing. The Negroes urging him to make the change assured him that they were unanimously in favor of it. The manager, however, asked them to be fair enough with his firm and themselves to investigate before pressing the matter any further. They did so and discovered that one hundred thirty-seven Negro families in that neighborhood seriously objected to buying from Negroes and using articles handled by them. These Negroes, then, had to do the groundwork of uprooting the inferiority idea which had resulted from their mis-education.


… While persons of African blood are compelled to sustain closer relation to their own people than to other elements in society, they are otherwise influenced socially and economically. The Negro community suffers for lack of delimitation because of the various ramifications of life in the United States. For example, there may be a Negro grocer in the neighborhood, but the Negro chauffeur for a rich man down town and the washerwoman for an aristocratic family in “quality row” will be more than apt to buy their food and clothing at the larger establishment with which their employers have connections, although they may be insulted there. Negroes of the District of Columbia have millions of dollars deposited in banks down town, where Negro women are not allowed in the ladies’ rest rooms.

Right in the heart of the highly educated Negro section of Washington, too, is a restaurant catering through the front door exclusively to the white business men, who must live in the Negroes’ section to supply them with the necessities of life, and catering at the same time through the back door to numbers of Negroes who pile into that dingy room to purchase whatever may be thrown at them. Yet less than two blocks away are several Negroes running cafés where they can be served for the same amount and under desirable circumstances. Negroes who do this, we say, do not have the proper attitude toward life and its problems, and for that reason we do not take up time with them. They do not belong to our community. The traducers of the race, however, are guiding these people the wrong way. Why do not the “educated” Negroes change their course by identifying themselves with the masses?

For similar reasons the Negro professional man may not always have a beautiful home and a fine car. His plight to the contrary may result from action like that of a poor man who recently knocked on the author’s door about midnight to use his telephone to call the ambulance of the Casualty Hospital to take immediate charge of his sick wife. Although living nearer to the Freedmen’s Hospital, where more sympathetic consideration would have been given this patient, he preferred to take her to the other hospital where she would have to be carried through the back yard and placed in a room over a stable. He worked there, however; and because of long association with his traducers and the sort of treatment that they have meted out to him he was willing to entrust to their hands the very delicate matter of the health of his wife. This was a part of his community.

To be fair, if not gushing blood or close to death I’d Uber over to another hospital. Howard (formerly Freedmen’s mentioned above) is the closest hospital to me, and I am grateful it is there. But when given a choice, I’ve chosen other facilities. It’s not because Howard is a hospital that primarily serves the African American community, it is because it has a reputation, and I have choices. Heck even some former Truxton Circle residents didn’t want to be at Freedmen’s.


Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 14: The New Program

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

When reading this first paragraph from his chapter, remember the African American has been mis-educated:

IT seems only a reasonable proposition, then, that, if under the present system which produced our leadership in religion, politics, and business we have gone backward toward serfdom or have at least been kept from advancing to real freedom, it is high time to develop another sort of leadership with a different educational system. In the first place, we must bear in mind that the Negro has never been educated. He has merely been informed about other things which he has not been permitted to do. The Negroes have been shoved out of the regular schools through the rear door into the obscurity of the backyard and told to imitate others whom they see from afar, or they have been permitted in some places to come into the public schools to see how others educate themselves. The program for the uplift of the Negro in this country must be based upon a scientific study of the Negro from within to develop in him the power to do for himself what his oppressors will never do to elevate him to the level of others. [emphasis mine]

He has suggestions of how to move forward:

…Men of scholarship and consequently of prophetic insight must show us the right way and lead us into the light which shines brighter and brighter.

In the church where we have much freedom and independence we must get rid of preachers who are not prepared to help the people whom they exploit.

He has a lot of suggestions for the Black church. It furthers my doubt in his assumed atheism.

Regarding the places that produce the ‘highly educated’ Afro-Americans he’s thrown shade at:

We should not close any accredited Negro colleges or universities, but we should reconstruct the whole system. We should not eliminate many of the courses now being offered, but we should secure men of vision to give them from the point of view of the people to be served. We should not spend less money for the higher education of the Negro, but should redefine higher education as preparation to think and work out a program to serve the lowly rather than to live as an aristocrat.

In an alumni email I got it featured a woman, a new faculty member promoting Black English. I thought of her when reading this:

After Negro students have mastered the fundamentals of English, the principles of composition, and the leading facts in the development of its literature, they should not spend all of their time in advanced work on Shakespeare, Chaucer and Anglo-Saxon….

And the last paragraph of this chapter:

In our own particular history we would not dim one bit the luster of any star in our firmament. We would not learn less of George Washington, “First in War, First in Peace and First in the Hearts of his Countrymen”; but we would learn something also of the three thousand Negro soldiers of the American Revolution who helped to make this “Father of our Country” possible. We would not neglect to appreciate the unusual contribution of Thomas Jefferson to freedom and democracy; but we would invite attention also to two of his outstanding contemporaries, Phillis Wheatley, the writer of interesting verse, and Benjamin Banneker, the mathematician, astronomer, and advocate of a world peace plan set forth in 1793 with the vital principles of Woodrow Wilson’s League of Nations. We would in no way detract from the fame of Perry on Lake Erie or Jackson at New Orleans in the second struggle with England; but we would remember the gallant black men who assisted in winning these memorable victories on land and sea. We would not cease to pay tribute to Abraham Lincoln as the “Savior of the Country”; but we would ascribe praise also to the one hundred and seventy-eight thousand Negroes who had to be mustered into the service of the Union before it could be preserved, and who by their heroism demonstrated that they were entitled to freedom and citizenship.

Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 13: Understand the Negro

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

Statue of Carter G. Woodson in Shaw DC

This is a really short month and this book is 18 chapters. I am going to put this chapter in one post instead of breaking it up into two, though there are two thoughts I want to cover. The first thought is, was, the problem of Black Studies in the early 20th century, there wasn’t really. The second thought was the comparison he makes between European culture and African studies. This is going to be a really long post.

Black Studies, What Black Studies?

Carter G. Woodson is known as the father of Black History. He had to cobble together and create organizations for the study of African Americans because there was almost nothing in existence. So what he was noting (complaining about) was the lack of Black Studies as well as the problem of kind of education African Americans at all education levels received.

A further examination of their curricula shows, too, that invariably these Negro colleges offer courses in Greek philosophy and in that of modern European thought, but they direct no attention to the philosophy of the African. Negroes of Africa have and always have had their own ideas about the nature of the universe, time, and space, about appearance and reality, and about freedom and necessity. The effort of the Negro to interpret man’s relation to the universe shows just as much intelligence as we find in the philosophy of the Greeks. There were many Africans who were just as wise as Socrates.


Looking over the courses of study of the public schools, one finds little to show that the Negro figures in these curricula. In supplementary matter a good deed of some Negro is occasionally referred to, but oftener the race is mentioned only to be held up to ridicule…..

and  (warning this contains the N word) Continue reading Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 13: Understand the Negro

Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 12: Hirelings in the Places of Public Servants

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

This is sort of connected to the previous chapter, infighting still continues in this chapter. This time the example is among the working class:

Another employer conducting a wholesale business placed a Negro foreman in charge of others of his race to function as one of the important departments of the establishment. The Negroes working under him, who had formerly taken orders without question from the white foreman, soon undertook to take liberties with the promoted Negro and to ignore his orders. Knowing that the Negro foreman was well qualified, however, and being personally interested in him, the employer instead of doing what so many others under such circumstances had done, dismissed those who refused to cooperate and supplied the vacancies with others until an efficient working force could thus be obtained. Only a few employers, however, have had such patience and have manifested such interest in the advancement of the Negro. As a rule they merely dispose of Negro foremen with the excuse that one Negro will not take orders from another.

This refusal of Negroes to take orders from one another is due largely to the fact that slaveholders taught their bondmen that they were as good as or better than any others and, therefore, should not be subjected to any member of their race. If they were to be subordinated to some one it should be to the white man of superior culture and social position. This keeps the whole race on a lower level, restricted to the atmosphere of trifles which do not concern their traducers. The greater things of life which can be attained only by wise leadership, then, they have no way to accomplish.

Undermining each other among the upper classes and the same among the working classes.

Exploitative preachers were a problem in the past, a problem in the present, and sadly will probably be a problem in the future. Despite Woodson’s criticisms of Black preachers, I still refuse to believe that he’s an atheist.

We must feel equally discouraged when we see a minister driving up to his church on Sunday morning in a Cadillac. He does not come to feed the multitude spiritually. He comes to fleece the flock. The appeal he makes is usually emotional. While the people are feeling happy the expensive machine is granted, and the prolonged vacation to use it is easily financed. Thus the thoughtless drift backward toward slavery.

In my last post I thought the African American doctor was in the admirable column for Woodson. I spoke too soon.

When you see a physician drive to one’s door in his Pierce Arrow, you cannot get the impression he has come to treat the patient for a complaint. He has come to treat him for a dollar. Such physicians, as a rule, know less and less medicine as the years go by, although they make much money by learning human psychology and using it for personal gain. With leeches of this type feeding upon an all but impoverished people and giving them nothing back there can be no hope for advancement.


What did Woodson want? He wanted a servant leader, not wolves among sheep.

The servant of the people, unlike the leader, is not on a high horse elevated above the people and trying to carry them to some designated point to which he would like to go for his own advantage. The servant of the people is down among them, living as they live, doing what they do and enjoying what they enjoy. He may be a little better informed than some other members of the group; it may be that he has had some experience that they have not had, but in spite of this advantage he should have more humility than those whom he serves, for we are told that “Whosoever is greatest among you, let him be your servant.”

Carter G. Woodson: Chapter 11- The Need for Service Rather than Leadership

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

On occasion I will look for study aids to add to these posts. I look at what others have written and wonder if we were reading the same book. The organization Dr. Carter G. Woodson founded, ASALH’s aid skips Chapter 11 in the table of contents. There are two points many aids point to in this chapter and they are:

    1. Checking up on what they do, Negroes often find themselves giving money and moral support to various persons and institutions which influence the course of the race in the wrong way.
    2. If the Negro could abandon the idea of leadership and instead stimulate a larger number of the race to take up definite tasks and sacrifice their time and energy in doing these things efficiently the race might accomplish something. The race needs workers, not leaders. Such workers will solve the problems which race leaders talk about and raise money to enable them to talk more and more about.

I bolded the point but thought it was meaningless without Woodson’s surrounding words.

As I wrote, I feel like I’m not reading the book the way others are, and coming away with a different message. If I were to summarize this chapter it would be, ‘get the Old Bay we got crabs in a barrel‘.

The problem that existed in the 1930s, exists still. There is no real unity. There is lots of infighting.

In one city of a few thousand Negroes there is no chance for community cooperation because of the antagonism of the Methodist and Baptist preachers in charge of the two largest churches. The one is determined to dictate the appointment of the teaching corps and the social welfare workers; the other is persistently struggling to undo everything accomplished by his opponent. The one is up today, and the other in ascendancy tomorrow. Several efforts have been made to start business enterprises there, but none has succeeded because one faction tears down what the other builds up.

There’s a book I have yet to finish about African Americans in Chicago and real estate injustice. Part of the book covers Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.’s efforts to improve housing and there was another African American pastor in the area that seemed to try to thwart King’s efforts. King was intruding on the other man’s territory.

The problem wasn’t limited to the clergy:

In another state the ambition of the highly educated Negro is restricted to becoming principals of the high schools. The neglected state school has not developed sufficiently to become attractive. The warring area, then, is in the cities. In one of them, where several Negroes own considerable wealth which, if pooled and properly used, would produce all but wonderful results, the petty strife has been most disastrous. Little thought is given to social uplift, and economic effort is crushed by factional wrangling. Before the author had been in one of the towns an hour a stalwart of one faction sounded him on becoming a candidate for the position held by the principal of the high school. A few minutes thereafter another approached him for advice as to how “to get him out.”

Take a drink if you caught the snipe at the ‘highly educated’ African Americans. It’s a constant theme. Continue reading Carter G. Woodson: Chapter 11- The Need for Service Rather than Leadership

Carter G. Woodson: Chapter 10- The Loss of Vision pt 2

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

A theme throughout the book is that “educated” AfAms are not furthering the race and uneducated entrepreneurs and business people can do more. So far every, single, chapter has a strong criticism of “educated” Black people. I have just finished Booker T. Washington’s Up from Slavery, and he had some criticisms (not as harsh sounding to my ears) for DC’s education system for African Americans. Washington was more “vocational” and pointed out some problems with students not being industrial and having their education being too book based. So they had that in common.

We’re probably more familiar with the Booker T. Washington vs W.E.B. DuBois view of education. There doesn’t seem to be the same amount of ink comparing DuBois to Woodson. But Woodson does snipe at the “Talented Tenth” a term most associated with DuBois.

We have appealed to the talented tenth for a remedy, but they have nothing to offer. Their minds have never functioned in this all-important sphere. The “educated” Negro shows no evidence of vision. He should see a new picture. The Negroes are facing the alternative of rising in the sphere of production to supply their proportion of the manufacturers and merchants or of going down to the graves of paupers. The Negro must now do for himself or die out as the world undergoes readjustment. If the whites are to continue for some time in doing drudgery to the exclusion of Negroes, the latter must find another way out. Nothing forces this upon one more dramatically than when he learns that white women in Montgomery, Alabama, are coming to the back door of Negro homes asking for their washing. If the whites have reached this extremity, and they must be taken care of first, what will be left for the Negroes?

That is a fair criticism. The reason why after 150 years of secondary and post-secondary education especially for Blacks, and there is still complaint about the state of African Americans in America, is …. complicated.  Thousands of Black teachers (some who are my aunts), Black doctors, and Black clergy (in-law) have been produced by this education system. Woodson has harsh criticisms for the teachers and preachers. I suspect he doesn’t think they produce anything useful.  “If the Negroes are to remain forever removed from the producing atmosphere, and the present discrimination continues, there will be nothing left for them to do. ” Black doctors can at least bill you for their work. Black dentists can point to the crowns in their patients’ mouths.

…. No progress has been made in this respect because the more “education” the Negro gets the worse off he is. He has just had so much longer to learn to decry and despise himself. The race looking to this educated class for a solution of its problems does not find any remedy; and, on the contrary, sees itself further and further away from those things to which it has aspired. By forgetting the schoolroom for the time being and relying upon an awakening of the masses through adult education we can do much to give the Negro a new point of view with respect to economic enterprise and group cooperation. The average Negro has not been sufficiently mis-educated to become hopeless.

And then

As Frederick Douglass said in 1852, “It is vain that we talk of being men, if we do not the work of men. We must become valuable to society in other departments of industry than those servile ones from which we are rapidly being excluded. We must show that we can do as well as they. When we can build as well as live in houses; when we can make as well as wear shoes; when we can produce as well as consume wheat, corn and rye—then we shall become valuable to society.

“Society,” continued Douglass, “is a hard-hearted affair. With it the helpless may expect no higher dignity than that of paupers. The individual must lay society under obligation to him or society will honor him only as a stranger and sojourner.”

Woodson against Segregation

There are a few passages where Woodson appears to criticize segregation. Continue reading Carter G. Woodson: Chapter 10- The Loss of Vision pt 2

Carter G. Woodson: Chapter 10- The Loss of Vision pt 1

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

Oh let’s just dive right into his criticisms of “educated” and “highly educated” African Americans:

In our day, however, we find some “highly educated” Negroes approving such Jim-Crowism. For example, not many years ago an outstanding Baptist preacher, dabbling in politics in West Virginia, suggested to the whites that they enact a Jim Crow car law in that State, and we had difficulty in crushing that sentiment. A few years thereafter the author heard one of our bishops say that we should not object to such separation, for we want to be by ourselves. When this distinguished churchman died the traducers of the Negro lauded him to the skies; and thoughtless members of the race, thinking that he deserved it, joined in the loud acclaim.

In this way the large majority of “educated” Negroes in the United States have accepted segregation and have become its fearless champions. Their filled but undeveloped minds do not enable them to understand that, although an opiate furnishes temporary relief, it does not remove the cause of the pain. In this case we have yielded on principle to satisfy the mob, but have not yet found an ultimate solution of the problem at hand. In our so-called democracy we are accustomed to give the majority what they want rather than educate them to understand what is best for them. We do not show the Negro how to overcome segregation, but we teach him how to accept it as final and just.

and Continue reading Carter G. Woodson: Chapter 10- The Loss of Vision pt 1

Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 9: Political Education Neglected part 2

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

As I mentioned in the previous post, this one will look for his complaints about “educated” African Americans. Let’s get to it.

The effect of such a one-sided system is decidedly bad. One does not realize it until he talks with men and women of these districts, who because of the denial of these privileges have lost interest in political matters. A book agent working in the plantation area of Mississippi tested the knowledge of Negroes of these matters by asking them questions about the local and State government. He discovered that they knew practically nothing in this sphere. It was difficult to find any who knew who was president of the United States. One meets teachers, physicians, and ministers who do not know the ordinary operations of courts, the functions of the counsel, jury or judge, unless such knowledge has come by the bitter experience of having been imposed upon by some tribunal of injustice. Some of the “educated” Negroes do not pay attention to such important matters as “the assessment of property and the collection of taxes, and they do not inform themselves as to how these things are worked out. An influential Negro in the South, then, is one who has nothing to do or say about politics and advises others to follow the same course.


Instead of doing something to get rid of this ilk, however, we find the “highly educated” Negroes trying to plunge also into the mire. One of the most discouraging aspects in Negro life recently observed was that of a presidential campaign. Prominent Negroes connected with three of our leading institutions of learning temporarily abandoned their work to round up Negro votes for one of the candidates. The objective, of course, was to control the few ordinary jobs which are allotted to Negro politicians for their campaign services. When the successful candidate had been inaugurated, however, he carefully ignored them in the make-up of the personnel of his administration and treated Negroes in general with contempt. When you think of the fact that the Negroes who are being thus used are supposedly the most reputable Negro leaders and our most highly educated men you have to wonder whether the Negro has made any progress since Emancipation. The only consolation one can get out of it is that they may not represent the whole race.

Woodson also points out problems with history and general education that also plays a part in African American citizens being ignorant of political matters. And it seems from the above paragraphs the educated AfAms in the North and South weren’t particularly helpful in educating their fellow citizens.

What those Blacks with some political sway did have was an interest in playing politics. Woodson saw them as corruptionists.

In the North the Negroes have a better chance to acquire knowledge of political matters of the simple kind, but the bosses do not think it is advisable to enlighten them thoroughly. Negroes in parts are employed in campaigns, but they are not supposed to discuss such issues of the day as free trade, tariff for protection, the World Court, and the League of Nations. These Negro workers are supposed to tell their people how one politician seeking office has appointed more Negro messengers or charwomen in the service than the other or how the grandfather of the candidate stood with Lincoln and Grant through their ordeal and thus brought the race into its own. Another important task of these Negroes thus employed is also to abuse the opposing party, showing how hostile it has been to the Negro while the highly favorable party was doing so much for the race.

I’d like to remind you, this is the 1930s. Prior to the Voting Rights Act there were African Americans voting and in Congress. Black history tends to get boiled down to slavery, the Civil War and Emancipation, Brown v. Board of Education and the 60s Civil Rights movement. If you’re lucky you might get the Harlem Renaissance, the Great Migration, and portraits of Blacks who aren’t Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. This is a long winded way of saying that one doesn’t tend to think about what African Americans were doing between those big events. There were Blacks involved in politics, but to Woodson, they were just engaging in piddling matters.

Final Presentation for Langston and Slater Schools

I’m going to take a break from Dr. Carter Grumpypants Woodson to bring up a presentation regarding Truxton Circle’s eyesores of Langston and Slater schools.
I’m just going to copy/paste Bradley A. Thomas’ letter:

The final presentation of the ten proposals for the redevelopment of the Langston and Slater school buildings will take place this Thursday, February 11, 2021, beginning at 6:30 pm.  Please review the slides from each of the applicants which I want to thank Bates Area Civic Association President David Hall for putting together into a single link.
You can view all ten of the proposals here .
To view this Thursday’s final disposition presentation, log in at the link below by 6:20 pm on February 11, 2021: 
Five days later, on February 16, 2021, ANC5E will vote on a resolution specifying which elements of the various presentations our community wants to see in the final development plan.  We are not being asked to state a preference for one development team over the others.  We are being asked to indicate which ideas we like best.  If you want to, and haven’t already done so, you can submit to me your individual preferences anytime between now and 11:59 pm on Friday, February 12, 2021.  After that, over the weekend, I will put together our collective thinking into a concise resolution which I will ask the Commissioners of ANC5E to support at our public meeting on the following Tuesday night. 
For the record, so far four residents have sent me their thoughts and I suspect that after the final presentation on this Thursday, I will get several more.   Thank you all for participating in this process which will impact our neighborhood for decades to come.  
Because someone’s bedtime is around that time, and Destructo is the king of delay (5 more minutes!), it’s unlikely we’ll see all of this live. But for you with children who go to bed or put themselves to bed or without kids, please participate and finally do something with this. It is possible.

Carter G. Woodson- Chapter 9: Political Education Neglected part 1

It’s Black History Month, so I am continuing with the series of posts regarding Shaw resident and Father of Black History, Carter G. Woodson and his book The Mis-Education of the Negro, published in 1933.

The first two paragraphs of chapter 9:

Some time ago when Congressman Oscar De Priest was distributing by thousands copies of the Constitution of the United States certain wiseacres were disposed to make fun of it. What purpose would such an act serve? These critics, however, probably did not know that thousands and thousands of Negro children in this country are not permitted to use school books in which are printed the Declaration of Independence or the Constitution of the United States. Thomas Jefferson and James Madison are mentioned in their history as figures in politics rather than as expounders of liberty and freedom. These youths are not permitted to learn that Jefferson believed that government should derive its power from the consent of the governed.

Not long ago a measure was introduced in a certain State Legislature to have the Constitution of the United States thus printed in school histories, but when the bill was about to pass it was killed by some one who made the point that it would never do to have Negroes study the Constitution of the United States. If the Negroes were granted the opportunity to peruse this document, they might learn to contend for the rights therein guaranteed; and no Negro teacher who gives attention to such matters of the government is tolerated in those backward districts. The teaching of government or the lack of such instruction, then, must be made to conform to the policy of “keeping the Negro in his place.”

After looking at disappointing test scores for African American males at local public and charter schools, in my worst thoughts, I was under the impression that some folks were unaware that it was legal to teach Blacks to read. And if the population cannot read, they cannot read the nation’s founding documents, nor appreciate them. And if a man can’t appreciate the Constitution, he is ignorant of his rights as an American. It appears the powers that were in the 1930s were set to keep Blacks ignorant of their rights by keeping the Constitution out of the schools.

In the previous chapter Dr. Woodson noted how the dominate racial group had put hurdles in the path of Black lawyers. This as another way to deny the Black man his rights, by denying him his 6th Amendment right to council, of his own race.

Fast forward to now. America has tons of African American lawyers. However, the Constitution and America’s Founding Fathers, such as Jefferson and Madison have fallen out of fashion.

In my next post I will look for this book’s trademark swipe at “educated” African Americans in this chapter. At this point it is almost a drinking game.