Animo Leadership Charter High School

Animo Leadership Charter High School

Youth Education, Sports Icons and Community Leadership

Posted on January 30, 2018 in Uncategorized

For as long as I can remember the need to focus on school and the cultivation of a positive attitude has been proclaimed from the hill tops but has sadly only been embraced by a few in the trenches.

Today, it’s all about being “cool” or “hip.” It’s about presenting the right “image”, about being able to impress the girls or one’s peers. It’s about making the team, about being the coolest looking player on the basketball court or football field, the dude with the snazzy haircut or braids, or gangster style tattoo, or Fubu outfit, or pricey Nike trainers, or gold chains, or rings, or saggy pants, or sports car.

Of course girls aren’t immune, they too are enticed with “bribes” of good times and pregnancy! But it is mostly our boys – the next generation of Black men – that are in real and in some cases mortal danger. It might be an overstatement to say that sports can be seen as a new form of mental and physical slavery. But is it? It’s probably true to say that because it is attractive and associated with stardom, that sports exerts a powerful influence on our youth and that in some respects its influence is insidious.

Okay you say, let’s keep things in proper perspective. No point scare mongering right? After all it’s only a game. And can we really offload this sports thing onto the media moguls, sports magnates or fashion houses? Accepted, they do have the power and the influence but aren’t we the ones who willingly purchase their products, their services and who allow ourselves to be used?

As powerful as the media is; as seductive as the lure of instant success through Nike trainers or an NBA or NFL contract might appear, the reality is that most parents and children are not caught up by the hype or fooled by the lies. In other words, the choice is ours. And many of us have taken a stand against the enticements of sport realizing that one Michael Jordan, or Venus or Serena Williams, or Tiger Woods does not an entire generation make.

The overwhelming majority of young black males who rally to the call of the sports and fashion media are drawn either to basketball or football. Almost undoubtedly these are the “coolest” sports and the black presence is obvious. The few players who, either because of their performance or earnings (the two usually go together), make it into the superstar leagues are the new emblems of success and have become the role models of every young black male who fancies his chances and sees sports as an easy ticket out of the ghetto, the classroom, or the boring life dictated by those of his parents’ generation.

What I find most worrying is the way in which the educational opportunities of many young black males are seemingly being hijacked. Of course, those who make it into the professional ranks realize the importance of a scholarship and a college education. But the stories of cooked grades and stars who can barely read or write are too real to dismiss as fantasy.

But, perhaps more important even than this, is the “easy believism” that may be paralyzing or otherwise infecting our community through our children. Hey, they say and think, you don’t have to work too hard. Just play a little basketball. Don’t worry about school. There’s nothing wrong with practicing that jump shot all day at the park. Homework? What’s that?

Forget it, who needs grades anyway? Just work on those Harlem Globetrotter skills, slam, dunk, dribble, don’t pass, drink your milk and Oreo cookies and think of Michael Jordan’s success. No problem. You’re gonna make it!

And my prayers are with you. But the reality is that you probably have a better chance of making it to the White House and appointing an all-black cabinet as you do of becoming the next Michael Jordan, Shaquille O’Neal, Allen Iverson, or any of the other currently top-rated basket ball stars.

Get real.

And that’s the problem; the cloud of unreality that has colored our thinking and blinded our vision. And, unless we wake up and soon, our collective blindness may consign our children to the career ghetto with no education, limited opportunities, on a train going nowhere fast. And you don’t have to think too hard about the usual passageway from here to drugs and the criminal justice system.

Most of us recognize and accept that these last two are tearing many communities apart and we regularly hear individuals speaking out against the cancer of crack cocaine or the unwarranted numbers of black men behind bars. We rightly recognize these “truths” as being evidence that perhaps all is not right with our society. But the possibility that slipping educational standards and the promotion of an easy path to success may be the real modern-day curse of our children has yet to be trumpeted from the hilltops by our politicians, community leaders or conscientious media personalities.

If they are speaking about it, then they must be whispering. Either that or I’m slowly becoming deaf! Of course, not all sports stars are jocks and it would be a terrible disservice to the able, gifted, and aspiring among them to say as some might that most athletes are nothing more than kids with too much money and too little sense for their own good. While the stereotype remains popular, again largely because of the media’s focus and misrepresentation, it is largely untrue.

There are many young, bright, articulate, educated, conscious young male and female athletes who are serving as positive role models for the next generation. However, it’s unfortunate that interviews with these individuals or real-time media representations of their lives off the court or field are few and far between. It’s so much easier to focus on their sporting talent and promote their star quality. After all that’s what sells tickets and increases the value of the individual to the promoter, owner, manager, coach, or television network.

For all the positive qualities that a Michael Jordan may exude, and for all the speed with which selected individuals are catapulted onto the world stage and transformed sometimes overnight into American icons, how many of your sons or daughters do you really believe will ever have an opportunity to achieve the same degree of success?

If your answer is one in a million, then you understand the stark reality. The reality is that the media allows relatively few players to rise to the top. As with Hollywood, it’s much easier to work with a single hero. The same formula is followed to some degree in the sports world.

The script is written; the actors assembled and only one athlete at a time can play a leading or superstar role.

Is it any wonder then that sports “stars” almost routinely look to Hollywood, product endorsements or the music industry for further development of their careers? But, let’s give credit where credit is due.

There are some real success stories out there. In most cases, the silent and the quiet who shun media attention, and who focus on their families, their careers and their futures in that order are not usually the stuff of which legends are made. You won’t find such individuals being touted in the media. And there are other stars who, having gained a certain notoriety by living up to the stereotype, have gone on to make a success of their lives and business accomplishments.

Magic Johnson is perhaps one example. It was back in November 7, 1991 that the sports world was rocked by the announcement that Magic had the HIV virus. The news was shocking. This was at a time when for many HIV was equivalent to certain death. Now, a decade later Magic is a significant force in business with a reported $500 million business portfolio.

Many communities are the richer for such efforts and no one can take away from these public successes or the significance of these acts of entrepreneurial magic. However, I always find myself asking, when confronted with such tales of success and material wealth, how much more could our stars and leaders be doing by way of sponsoring scholarship programs or linking their names, talents and wealth to charter schools, colleges and universities, after-school care programs, mentoring programs, summer camps, space camps, foreign language learning schemes, cultural exchange programs, computers in schools, science and technology initiatives, hospitals, clinics, fair rent housing development schemes, libraries, urban renewal initiatives. The list is almost endless and the benefits would extend far beyond the black community.

But how do I know that they aren’t investing in such things? Just because we don’t hear about it doesn’t mean they ain’t? Right? Pardon the grammar but the point is well made. Perhaps they are doing all this but no one is talking. After all isn’t this what the Bible encourages when it speaks of humility and the left hand not letting the right hand know what it’s doing? Well how come we hear so much about the supposed wealth of individual stars and so little about the acts of “good.”?

Surely, declaring these good works is a potent way to be an example.

I mean, let’s be realistic, if nobody knows what these individuals are doing, how can we be expected to say “Hey, that brother or that sister is focusing on something positive, or investing their time and money in building the community, in our future, in our schools, in learning? How can they serve as potent role models unless we SEE them playing the role?


The way I see it, until we begin to see more visible examples of such investments in people and communities we’re all wasting our time. Unless we see these institutions and edifices being built, arising from the ashes of our decaying communities so to speak, until there are conscious, vocal and repeated statements of support for the building of lasting institutions that are geared to improving the minds of our children and keeping them healthy and in school then even the success of a Magic Johnson, or a Michael Jordan may be taken as no more than the largesse of a rich individual who may be simply throwing his surplus cash around in blind imitation of other wealthy folks.

While no athlete or media star is under an obligation to support public works and they could very well invest their hard-earned cash elsewhere or live lavishly we all know that many do support some of the initiatives that I’ve outlined above and that they do so through privately established trusts or channels of investment.

The likes of Oprah Winfrey, Bill Cosby, Michael Jackson, Michael Jordan, Spike Lee, and Whoopi Goldberg among others have long been associated with positive if not always public acts of kindness. Well, now may be the time to come out of the closet.

The point I’m making is that the dangers are so great that what we need to do now is mount a public campaign, to wage a public war on the apathy of our kids and their acceptance of second-rate grades. As athletes and stars we need to start telling and showing them by the way we walk, talk and invest our money that education is important. We need to be telling them that there’s more to life than basketball, or football, or overpriced trainers, or MTV, or gangster rap, or Hollywood, or video games, or fully loaded convertible sports car, or the latest prison hand-me-down fashions, or ribbed condoms, or gold chains, or reefers, or smack, or crack cocaine, or alcohol, or cigarettes, or gang banging, or getting pregnant at age fifteen, or becoming a father before you’re old enough to drive, or hanging out, or jailhouse tattoos, or multiple body piercing, or even the “cool” walk.


Is there anything left that I don’t like and want to get rid of?

Or am I saying that there’s some natural association between this litany of supposed negatives and professional sports? The answer is of course no. The fact that some sectors of the media continue to make this association is tragic and dangerous.

The fact that many young people themselves make the connection is perilous. The only point I’m making is that in the balancing act of life it appears that education and lasting career development continue to be challenged by the litany of material and emotional goods some of which I’ve identified above.

But don’t get me wrong. This isn’t about going back to the way things were when George Washington was President (actually, they weren’t so good then). Or back to the fifties when men were men and women were women (yeah right), or a period before there were drugs on the street and television had yet to be invented. This isn’t about going back to an unreal time when every child got perfect grades, there was no fun, no sports, no soda and everyone wore gray uniforms.

Rather, this is about coming together and deciding what it is we want for our children. It’s about taking a long hard look at the reality of the world in which we live. It’s about recognizing that many of our children are being left behind. It’s about accepting that many of our young men and women – our children – are losing out on the American Dream. Their minds and their bodies are being sapped of all energy. Commitment and effort are being replaced by a desire for easy returns, usually with little output.

The dangers of a continued focus on life as a trip down easy street are obvious, although not so obvious as to have drawn the attention of every politician in the country. Every parent and citizen with even a passing concern for the future should be demanding that something be done. More importantly, each of us should be looking out for the kids in our care, for the kids on our block, in our school, in our churches, mosques and synagogues, in our boys and girls clubs, at the local Y’s, hanging out on the street corners.

We should also be looking out for all the others out there. Sport has its place in our society. Basketball, football, and baseball, along with many other sports, capture our collective attention. We’re a nation of sports lovers. And that’s all right. The combination of skills, artistry, rivalry, strategy, tactics, techniques, personalities and drama is interesting, sometimes even exciting.

Sports may even help get us through the week and give us something on which to pin our hopes (the fortunes of “our” team) or, increasingly, the hopes of our children. For many the fascination is innocent enough for what can be harmful about little league baseball or a friendly competition, or my son playing basketball a couple of hours several nights each week, or following the fortunes of his favorite team or players by television or fanzine?

The answer is nothing, so long as the fascination is measured and balanced against the need to invest time in other creative pursuits and, above all, in education. Learning must count for something today. Look at the efforts of other communities. Recent immigrants from India, from Korea, and other parts of Southeast Asia are linking their future success to the classroom. Other communities would do well to take note.

If education is important today, it will be even more important tomorrow.

We must therefore give our children every possible opportunity. Accompany them to the game, applaud their successes, tend to their occasionally broken spirits or bodies, and give them every support possible for sports can help round them out as individuals.

However, we should also encourage them to keep everything in perspective and resist the tendency that some of us may have to cast ourselves in the role of aspirant coach, referee or parent to a prospective superstar.

Digest the fact that, nine times out of ten neither you nor your child will make it. Did I say nine times out of ten? Add a few zeros to the nine and you’ll be closer to the real ratio between the dream and the reality.

But even for that very small minority who consider themselves specially gifted or blessed and who are determined, come hell or high water, to challenge the statistics and make it into the first tier ranks of professional sports, the point must still be made:

Maximum effort and educational success are non negotiable.

Booker Washington’s Tireless Work in the US For Socio-Economic Development For Black Americans

Posted on January 23, 2018 in Uncategorized

Booker T. Washington who after being emancipated from slavery had only managed to get a primary education got probationary admittance to Hampton Institute and proved such an exemplary student, teacher, and speaker that the principal of Hampton Armstrong recommended him to Alabamans to lead them to establish a school for African Americans in their state.

In 1881, he was hired as the first principal of a school being founded in Alabama. under a charter from the Alabama legislature for training teachers, the first time a black was being offered such a high position.They soon found the energetic and visionary leader they sought in Washington. Washington thus became the first principal of the Tuskegee Normal and Industrial Institute. which he built from scratch into the most reputable and stable higher institution for blacks in the United States.

In 1895, Washington was asked to speak at the opening of the Cotton States and International Exposition, an unprecedented honor for an African American at that time.. His Atlanta Compromise speech there explained his major thesis, that blacks could secure their constitutional rights through their own economic and moral advancement rather than through legal and political changes. Washington’s address was widely welcomed in the African American community and among liberal whites North and South. Whites approved of his views. Thus he won over diverse elements among southern whites, whose support for the programs he envisioned and brought into being especially in the area of education he harnessed easily.

He was supported by W.E.B. Du Bois at the time but several years later the two started having differences. Washington’s conciliatory stand angered some blacks including Du Bois who feared his conciliatory stance would encourage the foes of equal rights. Whilst Washington valued the “industrial” education oriented toward actual jobs available to the majority of African Americans at the time Du Bois demanded a “classical” liberal arts education among an elite he called The Talented Tenth. Both sides sought to define the best means to improve the conditions of the post-Civil War African-American community. However, despite not condemning Jim Crow laws and the inhumanity of lynching publicly, Washington privately contributed funds for legal challenges against segregation and disenfranchisement, such as his support in the case of Giles v. Harris which went before the United States Supreme Court in 1903..

Washington the public figure often invoked his own past to illustrate his belief in the dignity of work. “There was no period of my life that was devoted to play,” Washington once wrote. “From the time that I can remember anything, almost everyday of my life has been occupied in some kind of labor.” This concept of self-reliance born of hard work was the cornerstone of his social philosophy.

Although not everyone agreed with Booker Washington, he became a respected leader who helped many schools and institutions gain donations and support from the government and other private donors. From this position of leadership he rose into a nationally prominent role as spokesman for African Americans

Washington’s philosophy and tireless work on educational issues helped him enlist both the moral and substantial financial support of many philanthropists. He became friends with such self-made men from modest beginnings as Standard Oil magnate Henry Huttleston Rogers and Sears, Roebuck and Company President Julius Rosenwald.

Washington associated with the richest and most powerful businessmen and politicians of the era.These individuals and many other wealthy men and women funded his causes, such as in supporting, running and equipping the institutions of higher education at Hampton and Tuskegee. Besides being seen as a spokesperson for African Americans, he became a conduit for funding educational programs. His contacts included such diverse and well-known personages as Andrew Carnegie, William Howard Taft, John D. Rockefeller, Henry Huttleston Rogers, and Julius Rosenwald, to whom he made the need for better educational facilities well-known. As a result, countless small schools were established through his efforts, in programs that continued many years after his death.

A representative case of an exceptional relationship was Washington’s friendship with the millionaire industrialist and financier Henry H. Rogers (1840-1909). Henry Rogers, a self-made man, had risen from a modest working-class family to become a principal of Standard Oil, and had become one of the richest men in the United States. Around 1894, Rogers heard Washington speak at Madison Square Garden. The next day, he contacted Washington and requested a meeting, during which Washington later recounted that he was told that Rogers “was surprised that no one had ‘passed the hat’ after the speech.” The meeting began a close relationship that was to extend over a period of 15 years. Although he and the very-private Rogers openly became visible to the public as friends, and Washington was a frequent guest at Rogers’ New York office, his Fairhaven, Massachusetts summer home, and aboard his steam yacht Kanawha, the true depth and scope of their relationship was not publicly revealed until after Roger’s sudden death of an apoplectic stroke in May 1909.

A few weeks later, Washington went on a previously planned speaking tour along the newly completed Virginian Railway, a $40 million dollar enterprise which had been built almost entirely from a substantial portion of Rogers’ personal fortune. As Washington rode in the late financier’s private railroad car, “Dixie”, he stopped and made speeches at many locations, where his companions later recounted that he had been warmly welcomed by both black and white citizens at each stop.

Washington revealed that Rogers had been quietly funding operations of 65 small country schools for African Americans, and had given substantial sums of money to support Tuskegee Institute and Hampton Institute. He also disclosed that Rogers had encouraged programs with matching funds requirements so the recipients would have a stake in knowing that they were helping themselves through their own hard work and sacrifice, and thereby enhance their self-esteem.

$1,000,000 was entrusted to Washington by another prosperous contact, Anna T. Jeanes (1822-1907) of Philadelphia in 1907. She hoped to construct some elementary schools for Negro children in the South. Her contributions together with those of Henry Rogers and others funded schools in many communities where the white people were also very poor, and few funds were available for Negro schools.

Julius Rosenwald (1862-1932) was another self-made wealthy man with whom Washington found common ground and from whom he received much support. By 1908, Rosenwald, son of an immigrant clothier, had become part-owner and president of Sears, Roebuck and Company in Chicago. Rosenwald, a philanthropist, was deeply concerned about the poor state of African American education, especially in the Southern states.

In 1912 Rosenwald was asked to serve on the Board of Directors of Tuskegee Institute, a position he held for the rest of his life. Rosenwald so adequately endowed Tuskegee that Washington could now spend less time traveling to seek funding. This allowed him to devote more time towards the management of the school. Later in 1912, Rosenwald provided funds for a pilot program involving six new small schools in rural Alabama, which were designed, constructed and opened in 1913 and 1914 and overseen by Tuskegee. The model proving successful, Rosenwald established The Rosenwald Fund, to replicate it all over the South. The school building program was one of its largest programs. Using state-of-the-art architectural plans initially drawn by professors at Tuskegee Institute, the Rosenwald Fund spent over four million dollars to help build 4,977 schools, 217 teachers’ homes, and 163 shop buildings in 883 counties in 15 states, from Maryland to Texas. The Rosenwald Fund used a system of matching grants, and black communities raised more than $4.7 million to aid the construction of these schools which became known as Rosenwald Schools. By 1932, the facilities could accommodate one third of all African American children in Southern U.S. schools.

Each school was originally founded to produce teachers. However, graduates had often gone back to their local communities only to find precious few schools and educational resources to work with in the largely impoverished South. To address those needs, through provision of millions of dollars and innovative matching funds programs, Washington and his philanthropic network stimulated local community contributions to build small community schools. Together, these efforts eventually established and operated over 5,000 schools and supporting resources for the betterment of blacks throughout the South in the late 19th and early 20th centuries. The local schools soon grew to great sources of much community pride and were of priceless value to African-American families during those troubled times in public education. This work was a major part of his legacy and was continued (and expanded through the Rosenwald Fund and others) for many years after Washington’s death in 1915.

As Washington’s influence with whites and blacks grew he reaped several honors. In 1901 he wrote Up From Slavery – his autobiography which became a bestseller.. Up From Slavery, first published in 1901, is still widely read today. As a result of his work as an educator and public speaker, Washington became influential in business and politics. Washington did much to improve the overall friendship and working relationship between the races in the United States.He also became an advisor to the then President of the United States – Theodore Roosevelt in the process becoming the first black ever to dine at the White House with the President., though it created a huge stir. Many whites thinkingt that it was wrong for whites and blacks to mix socially, were horrified at their President for doing so. Roosevelt defended his actions at the time, and continued to ask for Washington’s advice, but without inviting him again.

Eventually Washington’s leadership of blacks began to be undemined by the attitude of whites to the progress of blacks. It became apparent that the whites that had gained control of Southern institutions after Reconstruction did not ever want the civil and political status of blacks to improve – regardless of how hard they worked or how much character they had. They passed laws to keep them from voting and to keep them from mixing with whites in schools, stores and restaurants.

Washington’s critics. charged that his conservative approach undermined the quest for racial equality. Washington was criticized by the leaders of the NAACP, which was formed in 1909, especially by W.E.B. Du Bois, who demanded a harder line on civil rights protests. After being labeled “The Great Accommodator” by Du Bois, Washington replied that confrontation would lead to disaster for the outnumbered blacks, and that cooperation with supportive whites was the only way to overcome pervasive racism in the long run. Although he did some aggressive civil rights work secretively, such as funding court cases, he seemed to truly believe in skillful accommodation to many of the social realities of that age of segregation. While apparently resigned to many undesirable social conditions in the short term, he also clearly had his eyes on a better future for blacks. Through his own personal experience, Washington knew that good education was a major and powerful tool for individuals to collectively accomplish that better future.

“In all things purely social we can be as separate as the fingers,” he proposed to a biracial audience in his 1895 Atlanta Compromise address, “yet one as the hand in all things essential to mutual progress.” Even though his methods partly arose from his need for support from powerful whites, some of them being former slave owner, it is now known, that Washington secretly funded anti-segregationist activities. But he never wavered in his belief in the attainment of freedom: “From some things that I have said one may get the idea that some of the slaves did not want freedom. This is not true. I have never seen one who did not want to be free, or one who would return to slavery.”

However, by the last years of his life, Washington having moved away from many of his accommodationist policies, speaking out with a new frankness, attacked racism. In 1915 he joined ranks with former critics to protest the stereotypical portrayal of blacks in a new movie, “Birth of a Nation.” He also spoke out against lynchings and worked to make “separate” facilities more “equal.”

Washington was now the dominant figure in the African American community in the United States, especially after he achieved prominence for his Atlanta Address of 1895. To many politicians and the public in general, he was seen as a popular spokesperson for African American citizens. Representing the last generation of black leaders born into slavery, he was generally perceived as a credible proponent of educational improvements for those freedmen who had remained in the post-Reconstruction, Jim Crow South.

Throughout the final 20 years of his life, he maintained this standing through a nationwide network of core supporters in many communities, including black educators, ministers, editors and businessmen, especially those who were liberal-thinking on social and educational issues. He gained access to top national leaders in politics, philanthropy and education, and was awarded honorary degrees. Critics called his network of supporters the “Tuskegee Machine.”

Washington did much to improve the overall friendship and working relationship between the races in the United States. When Washington’s autobiography, Up From Slavery, was published in 1901, it became a bestseller and had a major impact on the African American community, and its friends and allies. Washington in 1901 was the first African-American ever invited to the White House as the guest of President Theodore Roosevelt. His autobiography, Up From Slavery, is still widely read today. As a result of his work as an educator and public speaker, Washington became influential in business and politics. In addition to Tuskegee Institute, which still educates many today, Washington instituted a variety of programs for rural extension work, and helped to establish the National Negro Business League in 1900 in an effort to inspire the “commercial, agricultural, educational, and industrial advancement” of African Americans. For his contributions to American society, Washington was granted an honorary master’s degree from Harvard University in 1896 and an honorary doctorate from Dartmouth College in 1901.Booker’s leadership also earned him honorary degrees from Harvard University and Dartmouth College. He wrote several books, and several more books have been written about him.

Shortly after the election of President William McKinley in 1896, a movement was set in motion that Washington be named to a cabinet post, but he withdrew his name from consideration, preferring to work outside the political arena.

Washington was married three times as revealed in Up From Slavery, where he gave all three of his wives enormous credit for their work at Tuskegee emphasizing that he would not have been successful without them.

Fannie N. Smith was from Malden, West Virginia, the same Kanawha River Valley town located eight miles upriver from Charleston where Washington had lived from the age of nine to sixteen (and maintained ties throughout his later life). Washington and Smith were married in the summer of 1882. They had one child, Portia M. Washington. Fannie died in May 1884..

Washington next wed Olivia A. Davidson in 1885. She was born in Ohio, educated at Hampton Institute and the Massachusetts State Normal School at Framingham and spent time teaching in Mississippi and Tennessee. Washington met Davidson at Tuskegee, where she had come to teach. She later became the assistant principal there. They had two sons, Booker T. Washington Jr. and Ernest Davidson Washington, before she died in 1889.

Washington’s third marriage took place in 1893 to Margaret James Murray. She was from Mississippi and was a graduate of Fisk University. They had no children together. Murray outlived Washington and died in 1925.

Blacks were solidly Republican, but after 1890 many lost the vote in the deep South (but continued to vote in border and northern states). Washington emerged as their spokesman and was routinely consulted by Republican national leaders about the appointment of African Americans to political positions throughout the nation. He worked and socialized with many white politicians and notables. He argued that the surest way for blacks eventually to gain equal rights was to demonstrate patience, industry, thrift, and usefulness and said that these were the key to improved conditions for African Americans in the United States and that they could not expect too much, having only just been granted emancipation..

Despite his travels and widespread work, Washington remained as principal of Tuskegee. This had serious strain and stress on him. Washington’s health was therefore deteriorating rapidly; so much so that he collapsed in New York City and was brought home to Tuskegee, where he died on November 14, 1915 at the age of 59. With the permission of his descendants, examination of medical records indicated that he died of hypertension, with a blood pressure more than twice normal, confirming what had long been suspected. He was buried on the campus of Tuskegee University near the University Chapel. At his death Tuskegee’s endowment exceeded US$1.5 million. His greatest life’s work, the work of education of blacks in the South, was well underway and expanding. A man who overcame near-impossible odds himself, Booker T. Washington is best remembered for helping black Americans rise up from the economic slavery that held them down long after they were legally free citizens.

In 1934, Robert Russa Moton Washington’s successor as president of Tuskegee University, arranged an air tour for two African Americans aviators, and afterward the plane was christened the Booker T. Washington.

On April 7, 1940, Washington became the first African American to be depicted on a United States postage stamp.

The first coin to feature an African American was the Booker T. Washington Memorial Half Dollar that was minted by the United States from 1946 to 1951. He was also depicted on a U.S. Half Dollar from 1951-1954.

On April 5, 1956, the hundredth anniversary of Washington’s birth, the house where he was born in Franklin County, Virginia was designated as the Booker T. Washington National Monument. A state park in Chattanooga, Tennessee was named in his honor, as was a bridge spanning the Hampton River adjacent to his alma mater, Hampton University.

In 1984, Hampton University dedicated a Booker T. Washington Memorial on campus near the historic Emancipation Oak, establishing, in the words of the University, “a relationship between one of America’s great educators and social activists, and the symbol of Black achievement in education.”

Numerous high schools and middle schools across the United States have been named after Booker T. Washington.

At the center of the campus at Tuskegee University, the Booker T. Washington Monument, called “Lifting the Veil,” was dedicated in 1922. The inscription at its base reads: “He lifted the veil of ignorance from his people and pointed the way to progress through education and industry.”

He was funded by Andrew Carnegie and John D. Rockefeller, dined at the White House with Theodore Roosevelt and family, and was the guest of the Queen of England at Windsor Castle.


o Washington, Booker T. The Awakening of the Negro, The Atlantic Monthly, 78 (September, 1896).

o Up from Slavery: An Autobiography (1901).

o Washington, Booker T. The Atlanta Cotton States Exposition Address (Sep, 1895).

o The Booker T. Washington Papers University of Illinois Press online version of complete fourteen volume set of all letters to and from Booker T. Washington.

o James D. Anderson, The Education of Blacks in the South, 1860-1935 (1988)

o Mark Bauerlein. Washington, Du Bois, and the Black Future” in Wilson Quarterly (Autumn 2004)

o W. Fitzhugh Brundage, ed Booker T. Washington and Black Progress: Up from Slavery 100 Years Later (2003).

o Louis R. Harlan, Booker T. Washington: The Making of a Black Leader, 1856-1900 (1972) the standard biography, vol 1.

o Louis R. Harlan. ‘Booker T. Washington: The Wizard of Tuskegee 1901-1915 (1983), the standard scholarly biography vol 2.

o Louis R. Harlan. Booker T. Washington in Perspective: Essays of Louis R. Harlan (1988).

o Louis R. Harlan. “The Secret Life of Booker T. Washington.” Journal of Southern History 37:2 (1971). in JSTOR Documents Booker T. Washington’s secret financing and directing of litigation against segregation and disfranchisement.

o Linda O. Mcmurry. George Washington Carver, Scientist and Symbol (1982)

o August Meier. “Toward a Reinterpretation of Booker T. Washington.” The Journal of Southern History, 23#2 (May, 1957), pp. 220-227. in JSTOR. Documents Booker T. Washington’s secret financing and directing of litigation against segregation and disfranchisement.

o Cary D. Wintz, African American Political Thought, 1890-1930: Washington, Du Bois, Garvey, and Randolph (1996).

o Booker T. Washington High School

o Booker T. Washington’s West Virginia Boyhood

o Works by Booker T. Washington at Project Gutenberg

o Up from Slavery, Project Gutenberg edition

o Up from Slavery, Electronic Edition

o Booker T. Washington’s 1909 Tour of Virginia on the newly completed Virginian Railway

o Dr. Booker T. Washington papers – comments about Henry Rogers

The African American Almanac, 7th Ed., Thomson Gale. Reproduced in Biography Resource CenterThomson Gale.

o The Booker T. Washington papers digital archive, University of Illinois Press searchable index to complete annotated text of all important letters to and from Washington and all his writings.

o A Criticism of the Atlanta Compromise by W.E.B. Dubois

o Booker T. Washington Delivers the 1895 Atlanta “Compromise” Speech from the American Social History Project / Center for Media and Learning (Graduate Center, CUNY) and the Center for History and New Media (George Mason University)


Smart School Selection Strategy – Creating a Personalized School Scorecard to Build Strong Kids

Posted on January 15, 2018 in Uncategorized

Smart School Choice builds Strong Kids

Developing a selection scorecard to place your student in the best school to meet their needs

Recently I had dinner with my friends Bill and Nancy Palmer and the subject of school choice came up; mostly because at one time they had each of their five children in five different schools. If you think that schedule sounds crazy, then you’ve never met the five remarkable young adults they raised who have launched successfully out into the world. It was extremely stressful at times to keep things organized but they were committed to building strong kids and were creative enough to always find options to help each child grow in strength and confidence. How did they do it? Simple, they picked the educational experiences that were the best fit for each of their children at each stage of life regardless of convenience.

Many times parents are afraid of school change, or don’t realize they have so many choices available to them in guiding their kids toward their strength zone. First let’s look at what makes a ‘good’ school actually ‘good.’ Since it’s not really one thing it’s a combination of many factors that when combined together can create a learning environment which can brings out the best in your child. Here are some of the most common elements to consider when you begin the process of selecting a school to bring out the best in your son or daughter.

-Key factors of a ‘good’ school:

Strong parental involvement, as the old saying goes, a school is only as strong as the level of parental support that it receives. Clear community support, especially from elected officials. Focused school leaders, especially in administrative roles. Well structured academic programs to cover different learning styles. Committed and caring teachers focused on the needs of their students. A safe and secure learning experience. Budgets that allow for extra-curricular activities to positively impact multiple areas of development, such as the arts, music, journalism, ROTC, languages and sports. Guidance departments focused on a personalized plan to help students achieve who ‘think outside the box’. Smart classrooms with access to current and cutting edge computer and Internet technology. A learning experience that honors your families faith and values, instead of attacking or shaming your child for holding onto a strong system of faith.

Of course any parent would want the best for their children, but it’s been my experience that the word ‘best’ actually floats on many variables through the different stages of childhood. So, since ‘best’ isn’t actually a single school campus this opens the door to explore many experiences that often accelerate the learning environment for the kids who live at your house.

This can only happen when you begin to see that the main goal is to find out what needs your the child is facing to then select the school choice that can guide them to a position of greater strength. This just going along with whatever may have worked for your child last year. Remember, a child’s maturity changes year to year, and for many kids this means their academic choices should change with it.

– Chart to solve the confusion of discovering the best schools

Begin to make smart school choices to help your child be their best by building a chart to literally ‘score’ the school options available to your child on a legal pad, running across the top of the page. You should include every option you can think of to do a complete analysis of what is available to your child.

Even if you only think that you have one option, really sit down to consider the school choices available to your child in the coming school year. This way you will be able to actually track the metrics to see a visual number at the bottom of the page to see what each school choice brings to the table in best meeting the needs of your son or daughter at any stage of their educational development.

Here’s a sample of how to structure across the top of the page, except it’s more personal and more powerful if you actually place the name of each of the schools you are considering in that particular column, (for instance list out the choices facing your child, like: Orange County High, Mountain Prep, Holy Family, The Community School, Math Magnet Prep, Military Leadership Academy or an online virtual school)

Smart School Options:

Public- College Prep- Christian- HomeSchool- Charter- Boarding-Private- Magnet-Military- Online or Virtual School and so on

Once you have created a list across the page of every available option you have available to meet the needs of your child, then it’s time to add the list of variables, (preferably in order of importance to you in meeting the unique needs of your child), to rank or score each school choice against your own personal standard of what’s most valuable to bring out the best in your son or daughter. Create this list on the left margin of your legal pad and include factors like the following.

Smart School Features includes a combination of major factors like:

Safety, Academics, Great Teachers, Strong leaders, Involved parents, PTA-PTF groups, Location, Transportation, Costs or tuition, Friends/peers, Fits child’s personality, Fits career goals, Fits academic goals, School size, Well equipped classrooms, Class size to teacher ratio, Campus well maintained, Clean school facilities, Hot lunches and cafeteria, Wide range of sports, After school activities, Tutoring- academic help, Music, choirs, band, Fine arts and drama, Bible, world view or faith building classes, After school activities or child care, Clubs, FCA, DECA, OJT, and so on for social connection, School life- socials and proms, Trips- unique learning experiences, SAT or ACT prep classes, Strong guidance department, Tuition assistance programs, Partnerships with community groups (Boys & Girls Clubs, Scouting, etc), Partnerships with business groups to develop early career success, (like Junior Achievement, career training)

TOTALS of all of your comparisons of core values measured against each school option – A stronger score reveals a stronger school choice to meet the needs of your child.

Once you have developed your as many categories as fit the unique needs of your child, then it’s time to go back and score each school at the top of the page against your specific priorities listed along the left column on a numerical scale of 10, (best) down to 5 (average) then on down to 1 (terrible).

Be honest and don’t play favorites as you really consider the needs of the students in your family, since this process works from selecting a pre-school all the way to college. Leave any areas blank that are unknown to you, yet since this will greatly reduce the score for that particular school it indicates you need to do more research to create a fair analysis on some of the schools you may have selected for your child.

Another technique you can use is to do a detailed web search about each school, however, I recommend that you take your child with you to preview new schools with you in person. Walk the campus, talk to teachers or other students, or if possible visit the school when it’s in session and ‘shadow’ a host student throughout the day to see what the school culture is really like first hand.

This school choice process can be repeated every year as needed based on the needs of your son or daughter. Add in the maturity level of your child to complete the process of selecting what’s best by identifying where you believe your student to be at during this stage of their academic career.

Child (up to age 13) – Dependent and Irresponsible

Teen (13-19) – Developing, Maturing and Growing

Young Adult (20-25) – Independent and Responsible

It is wise to consider the maturity level of your child since some school settings will require a higher level of responsibility or independent decision making. Once you have identified the maturity level then just factor in the scores from your school choice chart to narrow down your search to find the best school. Remember, the higher the score, the more likely that it’s a better fit to help your student to reach their best during this or any school year.
Strong students often are able to build strong lives, so the time you take now to guide your children into the best direction, (even if it means making the sacrifice of car-pooling different kids in different directions for several years) will lead to strong and confident young adults for a lifetime, and that’s an excellent trade.

By Dwight Bain, Nationally Certified Counselor & Certified Life Coach