The “Teaching Our Own History (TOOH) Task Force” tasked my organization, Five and Two Solutions Group Inc. (FTSG) to write this article “Reviewing Our Past.” I accepted the task as a privilege and honor. This came about after a briefing that encompassed pre-slavery to present day, provided to the Task Force on the “Five and Two Solutions’ New World African (NWA) Studies, A Primer to Decision Making Process.” NWA is also an Ayisyen (Haitian) word which means black.
The New World African (NWA) concept highlights the peculiarity of the Africans captured in Africa, sold, shipped in chains and scattered within the Americas and the Caribbean in slavery under the whip of the Christian Empires of Europe, sanctioned by Pope Nicolas V. The program’s critical thinking, and historical analysis within the context of: Security, economic, diplomacy, informational and immigration stimulate the imagination of the African American Youth, to dig into the functionality of history.
Reviewing our past critically, helps African American Youth:
To know: Who, what, where, why, when and how of slavery (to develop a never again attitude).
To acknowledge as Africans, we were once sovereign, many were royalties, and to discover the scattered Africans in the New World, increasing African-American’s worldview to enable vision for critical decision making.
To cultivate a common consciousness amongst the Nwas; an identity to advance our narrative and testimony, in order to tell our own story.
To get wisdom and understanding to rebuild our Spiritual, Educational and Entrepreneurial systems.
To understand the status quo, and to take appropriate actions favorable to our community.
To develop informed visionary leaders who can in turn build their people self-sufficiently and self-reliantly.
Conclusion: African American Youth in the aggregate are not grateful to their ancestors, and are not prepared to make informed decisions that are beneficial to their self-interest. The education system is inadequate to prepare African American youth. To reverse the trend, we need to “Teach Our Own History (TOOH).” Make “NWA” history part of the learning regiment of our community, to develop visionary leaders with authentic belief systems in their People.
We have launched a statewide task force in conjunction with the Florida General Baptist Convention, Inc., Reverend Dr. Carl Johnson, President, to demand that the governor of Florida and the State Department of Education, teach black history accurately, factually and forthrightly. In the spirit of Dr. King, in the State of Florida, we organized a task force labeled, "Teaching Our Own History." Carter G. Woodson, the founder of Negro History Week, encouraged us to not sit idly by and allow this system to “mis”-educate black people.
Our Task Force will present to the government, a comprehensive curriculum that correctly and effectively teaches Africa and African Americans history to students in Florida's public schools. Moreover, we will develop forty (40) plus "Freedom Schools” by 2025. We will not sit idly by and allow any governor, to erase the accurate teaching of Black history.
The Objectives of “The Teaching Our Own History” Task Force are as follows:
To encourage the accurate and unbiased teaching of African American history, culture, experiences and invaluable contributions in the state of Florida and this nation
To develop strategies and solutions to support and strengthen public education in marginalized communities
To develop and adequately support 40 Freedom Academies across the state of Florida
To create significant after school programs for students in Title One schools in marginalized communities across the state of Florida, using an age appropriate African American History Curriculum to strengthen reading, writing and mathematics skills
To create summer “Freedom Schools” to teach youth the importance of African Americans contributions, self-respect, personal responsibility, and African American contributions
To empower and encourage the three private HBCUs in Florida to develop laboratory schools on their respective campuses by 2025
To cultivate and create partnerships with foundations, businesses and philanthropists to support programs and events that consistently celebrate the contributions of African American history, culture, literature, faith and heritage
We all must redouble our efforts to fight for social justice, voting rights, civil rights, diversity, equity and inclusion. The dismantling of programs of diversity, equity and inclusion are shameful and insulting.
Over the next several weeks, selected members of “The Teaching Our Own History” Task Force will publish articles for dissemination through The National Black Press, addressing the critical components for teaching our own history. I encourage our readers to enthusiastically engage in meaningful discussions in their various constituent groups and organizations as we speak “truth to power.”
Berthony Napoleon is chairman and founder and Rey Robinson is CEO of the Five and Two Solutions Group, Inc.