Education Diplomacy for We the Black Peoples of the World (ED-WBPW) provides a solution to the education ills of Black people by bringing together two concepts- education and diplomacy- to fight back against the colonization of the mind and offers a dynamic and powerful tool for positively reshaping the Black world of education. ED-WBPW starts with the foundation of “education as a human right”, continues by introducing a 25 year education plan, shares a domestic & international education political platform designed to lift the most oppressed people on the planet and to help to make amends for the Maafa (great disaster)/ Atlantic Slave Trade. It is an introduction to the organizing, advocacy, and policy strategies necessary to achieve the said objective- Reparations and an independent school system and curriculum free from the idea of white superiority and Black inferiority.
In approximately 40 days, I will turn 40 years old. All things considered, I think I have done okay to be where I am. Like many of us, I would have liked to have achieved or done more, but I am thankful for what I have accomplished thus far. As I approach the BIG 4-0, I thought I would share a few thoughts about this life journey, from the perspective of a Black man in America.
So with that said:
- Many African American males don’t make it past 21 despite the published statistics of our life expectancy being around 72 years of age. If it’s not the poverty or oppression that gets us it may be the inter-communal crime, poor health or even infant mortality.
- One thing I realize is that I am still able to maintain a certain body type through a good diet, but the need to exercise, at minimum, an hour a day is vitally necessary, but even more so important (for me) is the need to stretch.
- My mother told me that by 30 I should at least know what direction I am going in regarding my career. Well, I can at least say that I know the direction at 40. According many numerologists -4 stands for foundation; as there are 4 sides to a square, and a square lays the foundation for the builder to build upon.
- I am now excepting the fact that I am an elder to the hip-hop generation and I can’t dress myself as if I am the same age as young people. I am a professional in life, not an athlete or rap artist and my attire must reflect that. So NO, I can’t get away with the wearing jerseys, sweats, baseball caps etc. (all the time) if I want to reflect my age and the professionalism that should go along with being 40.
- In many ways, for a Black man in America, I started having children late- at the old age of 27. My oldest children are eleven and that comes with increased family responsibilities- sports, extra-curricular activities, explanations to life, counseling , life insurance and more….
- Lastly for today- at 39 and above one’s sex life changes. I won’t get too deep on this one for now. Sex is still a wonderful creation, and I support plenty of it, but let’s just say I’m not 20 anymore.
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By H.A. Jabar OdoKhan-El
In November of 2018 as the Director of the West Dayton Youth Task Force, our youth organizer and I attended a youth organizing conference in Albuquerque, New Mexico called “From Rooted Resilience to Rising Power”. At the time, our organization was in the middle of its second year campaign to promote culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive schools.
During the trip, I was awed by the cultural experience that I was a part of, the mountainous landscape of Albuquerque, and the richness of its people and culture. The spiritual feeling of grace and serenity reminded me of my college experience in Phoenix, Arizona. The distant surrounding visual was filled with mountain ranges and there were few to no tall buildings to interfere with the view.
As a part of the conference, we visited the Native American Community Academy School (NACA), met with students and administration, visited the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center, witnessed native performances, listened to panels of Native America youth, and even rode a zip wire car to the top of a mountain.
Much of the culture that I experienced was clearly (to me) African influenced. From the native drumming, to the art work and interior design of the hotel, to the architecture of the buildings; I saw images and symbols that were very reminiscent to those I have studied about in different parts Africa. The knowledge of Africans leaving the shores of west Africa and arriving in South America stayed in the back of my mind as I took in visualizations that stimulated my very being.
I was deeply impressed and inspired by the cultural resilience of the Native Americans (young to old) that were in an intentional spiritual fight to overcome their colonized mind and ways and were fervent in restoring the customs and traditions of their own people. I listened to youth talk and marveled at how they would recite their family lineage back many generations, and would do so in their native language (the same language that European invaders tried to eradicate). I was impressed by their pride in their heritage and what their ancestors went through, overcame, and accomplished.
As we left I knew that I wanted others Black youth to experience what I did. My cultural journey has me asking myself numerous questions. One I continue to ask is, “how much further along I would be in life if I had this information at 21 as opposed to 39”. Too much knowledge and information has been hidden from us and it is the duty of the adults to teach the children. It is in this vain that I desire to organize Black youth and Black Parents to attend the cultural gathering (Pow-Wow)- Gathering of Nations 2019 in Albuquerque, New Mexico.
As Original Black people, as Asiatics, as Africans, as Moors (or however you choose to self define) we have been robbed our our history, culture, traditions and customs. There are many things that we used to do as a people, traditionally, that we have absolutely no idea about.
We have been lied to in a variety of ways about how great our people were and what all they accomplished. One of our rich traditions that we carried as a people was that of learning (today called education). Not only did we write books and have libraries, but we actually taught the Europeans, whose children run the world we live in.
Our history has been intentionally buried and hidden, such as the nose that was blown off the sphinx in ancient Egypt (Kemet) or the libraries that were burned down in the temple or school of Luxor (Kush).
In an effort to
1. honor my Mothers and Fathers and
2. reconnect with the ancient traditions of my people
I have begun the process of reestablishing our family’s library under the name of my great grandfather Bishop John Jamison Moor ( a Bishop of the A.M.E. Zion church). Knowledge is our birthright and much of it has been stolen from us.
I find many lessons about family libraries and their significance to our culture in Timbuktu, Mali where people came from all over the world to study at the feet of Black scholars. It was families that maintained libraries of manuscripts, documents, maps and the like that created trade and attracted people from all over the world.
It was families that maintained and hid the books when outsiders came to steal and burn what wasn’t theirs. So as we reconnect to our rich history, heritage and culture, I ask that you take a look at the videos that I share about Timbuktu and help me as I try to help us restore ourselves back to our traditional greatness.
Have you ever heard of my great grandfather, Isiah Henri Harrison Moor? Probably not, but I’m here to change that. Some say “if you don’t know where you come from you don’t know where your going”, others say “you don’t know who you are if you don’t know whom you are from”.
The last 10 years or so of my life I became much more acquainted with my family heritage and history, but also to the living presence of my ancestors. On May 12th, Lord willing, I will begin a series of memorial lectures honoring those that went before me.
For now, here is some info on my great grandfather, Isiah Henri Harrison Moor the second Dean at the Bible College, College of scriptures in Louisville , Kentucky.
[IMG] Isaiah Henri Harrison Moore, second Dean of the College of the scriptures was born in about May 12, 1880. He was raised in Knox County, TN. Orphaned early, his mother died when he was two and his father, Henry Harrison Moore, died when Isaiah was three. His father was West Indian. He came to Tennessee from North Carolina. As his mother, Amanda Lucinda Devault, was dying at the age of 27she called little Isaiah to her bedside and said, “I want you to be a preacher. As a result Isaiah would say, “So I’ll go through fire to preach the Word of God. She named me for a preacher.”
His father was a Methodist minister. His grandfather had been Bishop J. J. Moore of the A. M. E. Z. Church. His father took his children everywhere he went following the death of his wife, Amanda. One man wanted little Isaiah but his father replied, “I can’t give you that boy. I promised Amanda I wouldn’t separate them.” Following his father’s death the children were taken to the County Home by a neighbor where they stayed a year until an uncle, John Devault, came to the home and got the four year old Isaiah who said about his uncle, “He led me from the poor house to the pulpit.”
Fifteen years later, as the 19 year old Isaiah sat on a porch of a parishioner, the two walked up asking where they could find Isaiah H. H. Moore. Thus the Church of Christ came into life of young Isaiah Moore. But the challenge of denominationalism was not over yet. Rufus Tipton, school teacher, friend, counselor and good Presbyterian who wanted to help his people became a strong influence on Isaiah. With no books available Isaiah and the other students received most of their information by lectures which they recorded on slate then onto paper. They would buy one tablet per year at a cost of a nickel earned by shining shoes. Isaiah Moore became a preacher at 15.
At 19 he built his first church. He was ordained the third Sunday of October, 1901, by Elder W. H. Dunbar who had been converted from the Baptists to the Church of Christ. Instrumental music was not an issue since the churches were too poor to even have a musical instrument. Later Isaiah found that in some Churches of Christ it was considered a “sin” to have a musical instrument in the church house. Moore replied, “We’ll go hand in hand then. Bowser was about fifteen years older than Moore. In 1902 Moore was attending a Presbyterian boarding school in Knoxville, Tennessee when he wrote to Ashley Johnson, President of Johnson Bible College, The two met by appointment in Knoxville. Johnson made a lasting impression on Moore that day by tipping his hat to the young man as a sign of his respect for him. While the Knoxville Presbyterian College taught a Calvinist course of study they made Isaiah Moore a member of its highest Bible Class due to his proficiency in scripture. Brother Johnson made Moore learn Scripture in quantity. That was Isaiah Moore. He was preaching for $5.00 per month. In 1904 Singleton came to Knoxville and brought Isaiah Moore to the preacher training school in Louisville, KY for which he had taught for twenty-seven years.
So, in 1904, Isaiah Moore came to Louisville to enroll in the Christian Bible School headed by A. J. Thompson, a white man. In 1944 Isaiah Moore was ministering in Paris, Kentucky. Sixty seven years ago Isaiah Moore enrolled in the Louisville Christian Seventeen years ago Dr. Moore became the Dean of the College. Let no man at this late hour in history feel sorry for himself because he is poor, black, or neglected or disadvantaged! Is Isaiah Henri Harrison Moore could do it then, anyone else can do it now! Or might we better say that if God can do it through him, He can do it through you. He is dead, you say? “Yet he being dead yet speaketh!” He is speaking in Oklahoma and in Pennsylvania, in Ohio and in North Carolina, in Indiana and Illinois and in Kentucky. He is speaking in Florida and Texas. He is speaking through his many Sons in the Gospel. He cannot be replaced. But he can be reproduced! I imagine that at this moment Isaiah Moor is bending the lord’s ear asking for funds for the College of the Scriptures.
I am known to some by the work I do around #EducationJustice and working with #BlackYouth. For the last two years, I have been working on a campaign to promote culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive schools. We developed a toolkit, got books added to the curriculum in local public schools, and have a culturally relevant curriculum webinar series with some heavy hitters. But as I have a “sankofa-moment”, I want to take a look back at history to review how I got to where I am today.
A few years prior to starting that campaign, at the Tuskegee Institute in Alabama, at the 18th anniversary of the million man march, I witnessed a speech and banner that would change my spiritual life. Due to my mis-education in the American education system (as Dr. Carter G. Woodson would put it) I was not aware of the works and identities of some of our greatest ancestors (here in America and abroad), but on that day I got a thorough introduction to my ancestors….. which was an elevation for me in my thinking and actions!
Just a few years later, who would have guessed that I would advocate for and win mandatory reading of ‘Up From Slavery’ by Booker T. Washington (the illustrious founder of Tuskegee Institute) in Dayton public schools.
This was also around that time that I met Dr. Umar Ifatunde (Johnson) in person and discussed some theological disagreements (involving our ancestors). My wife brought him to Dayton to speak.
To put an end to this “sankofa-moment”, I will share a great quote from the speech I heard that day by Ishmael Muhammad, that really changed the trajectory of my life….
“The little humble city of Tuskegee has given us as a people, America and the world so much to be grateful for,” Mr. Muhammad said.
Booker T. Washington, Tuskegee University’s first leader, was known for his emphasis on thrift and self-reliance, economic development, land acquisition, respect for others, proper education and civilized behavior.
“We must revisit the principles that Tuskegee University was founded upon and ingrain those principles into our very beings for our future is at stake,” said Mr. Muhammad. “This man is not fully appreciated by those who struggle to see our people free.”
He showed parallels between the “immutable principles” outlined by Booker T. Washington and the teachings of the Honorable Elijah Muhammad as represented by Minister Farrakhan.
The Black community is in need of guidance and the greatest gift after life is the gift of divine guidance, said Ishmael Muhammad.
What is now needed is a synthesis of all the great ideas of leaders such as Ida B. Wells, Malcolm X, Rosa Parks, W.E.B. DuBois, Paul Robeson, Sojourner Truth, Marcus Mosiah Garvey, Harriet Tubman, Frederick Douglass, Fannie Lou Hamer, Noble Drew Ali, and Martin Luther King Jr., he declared.
“All of these great men and women are hardly mentioned in the history books,” said Mr. Muhammad. These are all pieces to a puzzle, “and that puzzle is called Black Liberation!”
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“Education is a Human right, We will not give up the fight!”