I believe success begets success. In recent times, Chicago’s South Side, 99% Black, Earhart Elementary School students scored 70th percentile in reading and 80th percentile in math. Eighty percent of the kids qualified for free or reduced-price lunch. This is one of many Black school successes that are highlighted in the essay “Black Education” by Thomas Sowell in his well-documented book Black Rednecks and White Liberals. Sowell says these various successful schools have only two things in common: work and discipline. Why have the TV news, educators and Black activists ignored these successes?
In 1899, M Street School, now Dunbar High School, students scored higher in standardized tests than two of three nearby white schools. The parents were laborers, messengers, janitors, and one doctor. Dunbar students exceeded national norms in the ’30s, ’40s and ’50s. At one point some selective colleges enrolled Dunbar graduates just upon the school’s reputation. Dunbar graduates include the first Black Annapolis grad, female Phd, full university professor, federal judge, general, Cabinet member, senator, plasma pioneer, poet laureate of the District of Columbia, etc. Why aren’t there documentaries about these educational successes?
New England’s somewhat Puritan culture brought the best educational achievement to Black students. W.E.B. DuBois was a New Englander. A few years after emancipation, 2,500 northern teachers were in the South educating Black children. Graduates of New England cultural influence included Langston Hughes, Mary McLeod Bethune, Thurgood Marshall, Martin Luther King Jr., James Weldon Johnson, Walter White, A. Phillip Randolph, and James Farmer.
Robert Sullivan, Oak Park