North Carolina students threatened with suspension for wearing African headwraps

Jamaica Gilmer

A group of black students at the School for Creative Studies in Durham, N.C., could not imagine how much controversy would be sparked when they decided to wear head wraps to class for Black History Month.

Afiya Carter says her 15-year-old daughter and her fellow classmates were threatened with suspension after administrators warned that they were in violation of the dress code.

According to the cited policy, “hats, caps, hoods, sweat bands and bandannas or other head wear worn inside [the] school building” are impermissible, with no exceptions being made for garments worn in with cultural or religious significance.

Monday, parents gathered at the school to chant in protest against Durham County Schools’ dress code policy.

“This is not right. This is not fair. We will not stand for it,” Carter says. “This is about supporting these young people and letting them know that their cultural expression is something to be valued, and value other people’s cultural expressions.”

“It says to me symbolically that our girls — and our boys, as well — have to alter not only their attire, but their whole selves in order to seem less disruptive or offensive,” said Dosali Reed-Bandele, whose daughter was among those reprimanded. “This is utterly ridiculous and I am tired of those messages bombarding our babies day in and day out.”

School authorities are now denying they threatened the students with disciplinary action, and the district says that after meeting with the students, the principal decided to allow the young women to wear headwraps — also known as African geles — as an instructional tool.

Durham County School Superintendent, Dr. Bert L’Homme, responded with the following statement:

“I have heard the concerns of parents and community members who feel our policy prohibiting hats and head wear is too strict or that it infringes on student’s cultural expression.

I understand their concerns and assure them that I will share their thoughts with the committee that is currently reviewing and suggesting revisions to our Code of Student Conduct.

In the meantime, I appreciate both the initiative shown by the young women at SCS and the school’s willingness to give these student leaders an opportunity to incorporate their ideas into a school-wide program. The gele, its history and how to wear it are now part of the school’s Black History Month activities for both middle school and high school students.

I can also tell you that SCS had an extensive schedule of Black History Month programs already. Daily seminars for high school students and other activities in middle school. But after meeting with the young women and incorporating their ideas, they’ve added themed Mondays and a Black History announcement as part of the morning messages. The members of the Young Women of Excellence group will be the ones making those announcements.”

“I hope that my daughter and the other girls learn that you should not alter who you are to fit in or assimilate to society’s so-called standards and that it’s perfectly on point to stand up for what you know is right,” said Reed-Bandele. “It is your birthright to be who the Creator made you to be.”

 

 

 

 

 

Gambia introduces free education in all public schools

By on November 9, 2015 — Gambia has abolished school fees from all public schools, from primary to secondary levels, a development welcomed by many Gambian parents, some of whom could not afford to pay the fees.

Children at SOS Primary School, Bakoteh, the Gambia Photo: SoschildrensvillagesChildren at SOS Primary School, Bakoteh, the Gambia Photo: Soschildrensvillages

In a bid to improve access to education, the Gambian government through the Ministry of Basic and Secondary Education (MoBSE) has declared free education in all public schools from primary to secondary levels.

According to a MoBSE statement, “the removal of school levies is under the School Improvement Grant (SIG) funded by the government in a bid to provide education for all Gambian citizens,” Star Africa reported.

The statement reportedly indicated that the grant does not include books for the students and that parents are required to take charge of the stationery need of their children.

A primary school student decodes letters. The Gambia GPE/Dan Petrescu Photo: Globalpartnership

A primary school student decodes letters. The Gambia GPE/Dan Petrescu Photo: Globalpartnership

Expensive school fees continue to be a stumbling block preventing students in many African countries from accessing education, and the development will undoubtedly ease pressure off parents who stubble to pay fees.

According to reports, provision of free education, “has been welcomed by many Gambian parents some of whom could not afford to pay for their children’s school fees”.

School fees remain prohibitively expensive for many families in various African countries. According to United Nations Children’s Fund (Unicef), school fees are widely recognised as one of the strongest barriers to achieving universal primary education. According to the UN, “fees consume nearly a quarter of a poor family’s income in sub-Saharan Africa”.

Countries such as the Gambia have abolished school fees to address such problems. Recently,Kaduna State in Nigeria announced it was abolishing primary school fees

6 Online Tutoring Sites You Should Know About On-demand tutoring services connect students with tutors, 24 hours a day/ 7 days a week by Kandia Johnson

Whether your child needs help with typical subjects, such as math and science, or more advanced topics like physics and HTML programming, there are several on-demand tutoring services online available for everyone. Check out Dependable Destinations for Online Tutoring, compiled by Mashable.com.
Chegg Tutors provides instant access to tutors in a variety of subjects, such as math, science, Spanish and Javascript programming. A ‘tutors chat’ is available via desktop, and you can request and receive lessons from your tutor using an iPhone app.

Kaplan Kids
Perfect for elementary or middle school students, Kaplan’s online tutor program “allows kids to earn points while they answer questions- points which can be redeemed for prizes.” A free trial is available for seven days, then you can upgrade for $29/month.

LivePerson
With an extensive database of LivePerson educators, experts can help students with topics ranging from earth sciences and special education to standardized testing. A LivePerson chat feature is also available. The typical cost for LivePerson tutors is 50 cents per minute.

WizIQ
Recognized as a leader in the online education space, WizIQ, offers a variety of learning options, including pre-recorded classes in topics such as programming and exam prep. Students also have the option to enroll directly with a private teacher who runs his or her tutoring business through WizIQ. Pricing plans vary accordingly. Generally speaking, teachers pay a fixed-monthly or annual rate and can charge students using their own rates.

Sophia
Beyond tutoring services for middle school and high school students, Sophia offers low-cost online courses for college credit, and professional development courses for teachers. Whether it’s ACT Test Prep or homework assistance, Sophia has an extensive library, which includes 32,000 tutorials from 6,000 different tutors.

e-Tutor
Designed to give students control, e-tutor is recommended for home-school students, international students, gifted students, adult learners, athletes, and performers who spend a lot of time on the road. The curriculum includes reading, spelling, history, science, and math courses. All of the e-Tutor curricula meets state and national standards.

Read More: Mashable.com.

QUAKERTOWN: A VIBRANT BLACK TOWN DEMOLISHED FOR ITS EMBARRASSMENT TO A WHITE COLLEGE

During the twentieth-century in Denton, Texas, residents had a sense of pride for the community they worked hard to build. Many people had arrived to the area after the Reconstruction period, and were now trying to establish better lives for their family. Many of the settlers were also leaving areas to escape White plantation owners who were pressuring them to return to plantation life.

Quakertown was a thriving black community that was nestled at the banks of Pecan Creek. There were almost sixty middle and working class black families living in town in 1920. The town was located below the College of Industrial Arts, an all-white women’s college. The Quakertown community consisted of peaceful hardworking people who got along well with their White neighbors. Many of the Black workers held jobs working for White employers, and were allowed to frequent White businesses when needed. However, the Blacks still were often reminded that they were not equal to the Whites.

Together the Black men and women worked hard to make their community better. They  opened up a Black grocery store and mortuary. The group made sure that their bills were paid on time regardless of the small pay they were receiving. Women would take in laundry, or work at the homes of White families to help with household expenses.

As time went on, the College of Industrial Arts, sitting at the hill of the town began to grow. There was a need to expand the school into a liberal arts college. The college officials regarded Quakertown as an embarrassment and danger to getting their bid accepted for expansion. The officials described the town as mud-line streets, laundry-filled yards, and yards filled with groups of black children. The town was something that the college did not want visitors to see.  Many officials agreed that something had to be done about the embarrassment to the school. The school wanted to build a park and move the Black residents to another side of town.

Once the residents of Quakertown heard about the plans to build a City Park where their homes stood, they became worried and upset; many of them feared they would ultimately have no where to go.  The committee of concerned Blacks asked that the Commission pay full price for their property, but they feared they would not receive what they asked. Some residents were given the price value of their homes, but there were others who did not receive anything.

Some blacks packed up and moved on, and there were some who moved to a new community called Solomon Hill. Solomon Hill, was the land of A. L. Miles. Miles. Miles had borrowed money to purchase 60-acres of land but was unable to make the payments. He saw the Quakers moving to his location as an answer to his money problems.

The plans for the park went underway, and after it was finished the White communities enjoyed the beauty and serenity of the park. The Blacks who moved from their once vibrant town were struggling. Many of them could not get to their jobs easily because lack of transportation, and were finding it difficult to pay bills.  Many of the businesses that the people of Quakertown had before the move did not survive. The community lost many of their business leaders and businesses. The Black people of once Quakertown now found themselves again at the mercy of the White people. Something they moved to Quakertown to get away from in the first place.

sources:

https://tshaonline.org/handbook/online/articles/hrqgk

https://localwiki.org/denton/Quakertown

How Africans Became Black By Wayetu-Moore

A Liberian-American reflects on the experiences of Africans who have moved to the United States, a growing community that accounts for 3 percent of the U.S.’s foreign-born population.

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Yama Sumo a former refugee from civil war in Liberia, sits by her sidewalk vegetable stand outside a housing project in the Park Hill section of Staten Island in New York City on September 20, 2007. (Mike Segar/Reuters)

After leaving my nine-to-five job, I was led to a New York Immigration Coalition job posting. While waiting in the coalition’s lobby for an interview, a copy of a popular TIME Magazine cover caught my eye. “WE ARE AMERICANS,” the cover read. The photo on the cover featured faces of various brown and yellow immigrants, eager and hopeful, representing both the spirit of America’s revolutionary history and its inevitable future. I was remembering my own family’s immigration when I stopped to wonder: Where are the Africans?

U.S. immigration debates are overwhelmingly centered on immigrants from Latin America. Proportionately, Mexicans and central Americans far outnumber other immigrant groups in the United States. According to a Migration Policy Institute study, since 1970, “a period during which the overall U.S. immigration population increased four-fold, the Mexican and central American population increased by a factor of 20.” In a subsequent study on black immigration, the same organization reported that black African immigrants account for 3 percent of the total U.S. foreign-born population.
U.S. immigration debates are overwhelmingly centered on immigrants from Latin America. Proportionately, Mexicans and central Americans far outnumber other immigrant groups in the United States. According to a Migration Policy Institute study, since 1970, “a period during which the overall U.S. immigration population increased four-fold, the Mexican and central American population increased by a factor of 20.” In a subsequent study on black immigration, the same organization reported that black African immigrants account for 3 percent of the total U.S. foreign-born population.

Much as Irish immigrants benefited from the white racial umbrella, black immigrants are benefiting from a black racial umbrella.
Like their Latin American counterparts, African immigrants keep a low profile in an effort to avoid humiliation, deportation, and loss of work. Many of them, whether accidentally or otherwise, wind up blending in with African-American culture. But however closely they may identify with black America, they, too, are immigrants.

THE IRISH

I recently read a book titled How The Irish Became White by Noel Ignatiev. Ignatiev traces this nation’s white solidarity to the arrival of Irish settlers in New York in 1840, the country’s subsequent disassociation from its African-American working class — and ultimately, from the African-American race.

According to Ignatiev, Irish Catholics, then known as the blacks of Europe, came to America as a disenfranchised, oppressed race under the English Penal Laws. The greatest voice for Catholic emancipation at the time, Daniel O’Connell, urged the new immigrants to continue the struggle for equality in America by showing support for abolitionists. Instead, the Irish realized that discrimination against them by white elites was linked at least in part to their working, sleeping and living closely alongside blacks of similar economic and social status.
In order to stand out from blacks economically, Irish immigrants had to monopolize their low-wage jobs and keep free Northern blacks from joining unions during the labor movement. And in order to disassociate socially, they had to consent to active participation in the oppression of the black race, embracing whiteness and the system that disenfranchised and justified an ungovernable hatred toward African-Americans.

Ignatiev includes an 1843 letter from Daniel O’Connell: “Over the broad Atlantic I pour forth my voice, saying, come out of such land, you Irishmen; or, if you remain, and dare countenance the system of slavery that is supported there, we will recognize you as Irishmen no longer.”

The color of their skin saved them, but has also nearly obliterated a once vibrant cultural identity so that today I know no Irishmen. I have friends of Irish descent, former coworkers who mentioned the occasional Irish grandfather or associates who gesture toward familiarity of the lost heritage over empty pints on St. Patrick’s Day — but the Irishmen are now white, and the Irishmen are now gone.

Race in America is often thought of as a two-toned, immutable palette. No matter how early their ancestors arrived, Americans of Asian descent, Americans from Spanish-speaking countries, and Americans from the Middle East will always be considered foreign, it sometimes seems. For black immigrants who arrive as neither African-American nor white, affiliating with the African-American identity is often easier. Being considered African-American in this country is still better in most instances than being considered an immigrant.

Much as Irish immigrants benefited from the white racial umbrella, black immigrants are benefiting from a black racial umbrella. They cleave to African-American culture and identity groups and remain silent or unheard in the larger immigration dialogue. In the context of the immigration debate, while many of the prominent faces of those in need are often brown, it’s worth remembering that the term “immigrant” captures black Africans, too. At the same time, black immigrants and their children are also helping to redefine what it means to be black in this country.

ON BEING BLACK

When I was stopped in Arizona at a checkpoint during a midnight drive from Los Angeles to Houston, I was not asked if I was born in this country or if I was of legal status. The officer glanced at my license and simply asked me where I was going.

We were the only African family in our small Texan town and as far as the residents were concerned, we were black.
“Home,” I answered. “Back to Houston.”

I sounded like him and looked like about 14 percent of this country — so the officer let me pass. Someone like Natalie Portman — a white woman, but born in Jerusalem and an immigrant to the United States — might have had the same experience.

If Jose Antonio Vargas, the Pulitzer-winning journalist whose (brown) picture on the cover of TIME hung on the wall of the New York Immigration Coalition, were stopped that night, he may have been interrogated with questions, squeezed for identification, for proof that he deserved to be here. How just is that?
My family left Liberia in 1990 amid the country’s first civil war. We were among tens of thousands that successfully escaped to America. Five-years-old at the time, a green and frightened young immigrant, I moved with my growing family to three different states before settling in Houston in 1994. By then, my accent was gone. I pronounced the r’s at the ends of my words, I knew the radio music my elementary peers sang along to and I could quote the latest episodes of “TGIF.” By 2000, my only reference to Liberia, other than my parents, annual family reunions and a war scar underneath my right foot, was my name. I said it and people asked if I was African. If I did not say it, they could not know. We were the only African family in our small Texan town and as far as the residents were concerned — we were black. It was not until I moved to New York for college that my answer of “Spring, Texas” when people asked me where I was from was unacceptable. “No,” they would say, “where are you from from?” Oh. Liberia.

Like a small percentage of Liberians, my recent ancestors were descendants of American slaves. A reverend by the name of June Moore immigrated to Liberia with his wife Adeline Moore in 1871. After settling in Arthington, Liberia, Wallace Moore, one of June’s and Adeline’s three sons, had a son named David Moore, who had a son named Herbert Moore, who had a son named Augustus Moore Sr. — my father.

But growing up in America as a black or white person encourages the abandonment of such history and the adoption of “black” or “white” American culture as one’s own. Despite my Liberian heritage, my interactions outside of my house during my developmental years took place as though I were, culturally, an African-American — not an African. From first grade through high school, I received an American public-school education in which all mentions of people who looked like me were African-American. I took ownership of the culture because otherwise, I did not exist.

When I was 11 years old, I was called a nigger at a neighborhood corner store by a shopkeeper who thought my friends and I were stealing from him when six or so of us entered his store after track practice. The word was foreign to me, as was his motivation in using it. My friends and I cried as we were chased out of the store, but even then I knew their tears came from a different, more familiar place.

In the same way we respond to someone with white skin — whether that person is a white European or a white Hispanic — so America responds to people with black skin, no matter if they have been here for 20 years or 200 years. Being black in America is accompanied by a stupefying consciousness, a sudden, life-long awareness of your skin, your nose, your hair — all those things that, ironically, we are taught do not matter at all.
PASSING

Still, developing an awareness of all that being black in this country may entail does not automatically mean that young black immigrants are accepted by their peers. The young immigrant is usually subject to other kinds of bullying. National Geographic programming, comedians, international news all showcase Africans as savage, disease-ridden, ignorant, and poor. As a young student in this country, an African student, there are few greater burdens than psychologically balancing the public’s perception of Africa against what the immigrant knows to be true.

Social pressures cause a grave, hopeless desire to blend in with peers, even if the price is total rejection of the foods, music and languages of that child’s home country. The easiest avenue for assimilation into American culture, for young black immigrants, is the assimilation into African-American culture. African immigrants are not the only group to do this — Carribeans and black Hispanics may do this as well, all to ease the burdens of cultural ostracism.

These young people eventually learn to socially navigate both African-American and their home culture. This passing of black immigrants and first-generation black Americans as members of African-American culture results in a cross-cultural black identity, where the individual is equally invested in both African-American interests and the empowerment of their (or their parent’s) home country and the many issues that affect its native sons.

* * *
My father is a proud man. All of my uncles are proud men. They wear Liberia and her stories on their shoulders and made consistent attempts growing up to engage us in her music and history. Still, my father was as careful as he was proud. My siblings and I were reminded to always obey the law, never get in trouble, to fear punishment and respect authority. The immigration struggles that face many Hispanics in this country — fear of prison, fear of deportation or separation from family — are more intensified among Africans, because many of us, my family included, left countries in conflict or at war. Drawing attention to your immigrant status means raising the possibility of having to return to a country whose economy and infrastructure may barely function.
Ours is also a numbers game. As 3 percent of a foreign-born population, African influence in the immigration movement is low. Language barriers keep some black immigrants from becoming activists. It’s not just about English; at one information session in the Bronx, instructions and information on legal clinic appointments were given only in Spanish, even though 10 percent of the attendants were black immigrants who mostly spoke French. The Francophones had to consult with one another to figure out what the session leader was saying.

Some black immigrants are vocal and have received help from a few quarters. To people of countries beset by armed conflict, natural disaster, or other circumstances that would make going home unsafe, the United States grants what’s called Temporary Protected Status (TPS). TPS gives certain foreign nationals a special opportunity to live in America, to work, to pay taxes, and to own homes and businesses. Haitians benefited from this after the 2010 earthquake, and Liberians were also beneficiaries.

Every year, 4,000 Liberians face the threat of deportation from the United States.
But in 2007, an estimated 4,000 Liberians were told that their special status would expire on September 30 at midnight. On September 12, however, President Bush signed a bill that gave the Liberians permission to stay another 18 months and continue working. That reprieve has since been granted 4 times; yet every year these Liberians — some with children who are American citizens, homeowners, and taxpayers — face the threat of deportation.

Liberian nationals, with the help of The Universal Human Rights International Group and community associations led and managed by fellow Liberian immigrants, continue to lobby Congress for permanent residency. Michael Capuano, a Democratic U.S. congressman from Massachusetts, is a co-sponsor of the Liberian Refugee Immigration Protection Act. If passed, the bipartisan bill will allow Liberians with TPS to apply for permanent residency, something they are not currently allowed to do.

You may have passed a Liberian covered by TPS today. You may have thought that he was just black.

What the Irish were to white identity in the 19th century, so are African immigrants to African-American identity today. Black immigrants have a meaningful contribution to make to the immigration debate; for Jose Antonio Vargas and the other brown faces on that TIME cover, the black immigrant voice may be all the push reformists need.

http://www.theatlantic.com/author/wayetu-moore/

Gifted Children! Nigerian 8-Year-Old Twins Break World Mathematics Record (WATCH VIDEO)

Meet twins Paula and Peter Imafidon – they passed the University of Cambridge Advanced Maths A level at age 8! They chat with GMTV’s John Stapleton.

Scroll down for videos…

The 8-year-old twins from Waltham Forest in northeast London are a part of the highest-achieving clan in the history of Great Britain education. The two youngest Nigerian siblings are about to make British history as the youngest students to ever enter high school.

They astounded veteran experts of academia when they became the youngest to ever pass the University of Cambridge’s advanced mathematics exam. That’s on top of the fact they have set world records when they passed the A/AS-level math papers.

Chris Imafidon, their father, said he’s not concerned about his youngest children’s ability to adapt to secondary school despite their tender age.

“We’re delighted with the progress they have made,” he said. “Because they are twins they are always able tohelp and support each other.”

To Peter and Paula’s parents, this is nothing new. Chris Imafidon said he and his wife have been through this before: They have other super-gifted, overachieving children.

A-level-twins-460_790443c

Peter and Paula’s sister, Anne-Marie, now 20, holds the world record as the youngest girl to pass the A-level computing when she was just 13.

She is now studying at arguably the most renowned medical school in the United States, Johns Hopkins University, in Baltimore.

Another sister, Christina, 17, is the youngest student to ever get accepted and study at an undergraduateinstitution at any British university at 11. And Samantha, now age 12, had passed two rigorous high school-level mathematics and statistics exams at the age of six, something that her twin siblings, Peter and Paula, also did.

African Immigrants Lead with the Highest Academic Achievements in the US By Mwakilishi

Africans have the highest educational attainment rates of any immigrant group in the United States with higher levels of completion than the stereotyped Asian American model minority. It is not only the first generation that does well, as estimates indicate that a highly disproportionate percentage of black students at elite universities are African or the children of African immigrants.

In an analysis of Census Bureau data by the Journal of Blacks in higher education, African immigrants to the United States were found more likely to be collegeeducated than any other immigrant group. African immigrants to the U.S. are also more highly educated than any other native-born ethnic group including white Americans. Some 48.9 percent of all African immigrants hold a college diploma. This is slightly more than the percentage of Asian immigrants to the U.S., nearly double the rate of native-born white Americans, and nearly four times the rate of native-born African Americans.

In 1997, 19.4 percent of all adult African immigrants in theUnited States held a graduate degree, compared to 8.1 percent of adult whites and 3.8 percent of adult blacks in the UnitedStates, respectively. This information suggests that America has an equally large achievement gap between whites and African/Asian immigrants as it does between white and black Americans.

Of the African-born population in the United States age 25 and older, 86.4% reported having a high school degree or higher, compared with 78. 9% of Asian born immigrants and 76.5% of European born immigrants, respectively. These figures contrast with 61.8% percent of the total foreign-born population.

– myafricanow.com