Knowledge is power. This statement is very true but also cliché. African Americans firmly believed that literacy was the implement and symbol of liberation and equality, in white societies. Education is what makes you “free”. When a child learns to talk, read, and write, the child has more power and respect then one of a new born. The child can now tell you “yes” or “no” based on situation after an evaluation. As Malcolm X famously said “education is the passport to the future, for tomorrow belongs to those who prepare for it today.” This essay will elucidate on the importance of education on African Americans in general the substance of education to African Americans today and the challenges that correspond with education today. Education is very important, not matter who you are or where you come from. Education has always been essential to living a productive life. The level of education one may have is what earns one respect. Education is an indispensable part of life. There is no way one can live a fruitful life without it. When you put education, resources and opportunity together there will be more useful and civilized and health surrounding being developed, and it would generate more advanced communities. In the United States of America before the emancipation proclamation; blacks were salves and viewed as nothing more than property and treated as such.
They were not allowed to be taught reading or writing. Because they were not taught to read or write they were illiterate and more prone to listen and believe anything the master would tell them. When slaves started to go against masters and teach each other to read and write, there were able to realize that what was happening to them was wrong and needed to be changed. Because they took the time to become knowledgeable they became powerful and were able to make a positive effect on many humans’ lives. Education after the time of slavery was very hard to come by. The education system in the south was horrible as a standard, but being that black and whites were segregated. The schools for blacks were worse than whites. African Americans during this time were still very eager to learn as much as they could at the schools they attended. After the civil war Booker T. Washington helped create the Tuskegee normal and industrial institute. His vision for the institution was that the better educated blacks were, the more freedom they would have in their community. The institution helped African American’s become stronger and more powerful in the United States economically. This seed that was planted helped grow a generation of more educated and dedicated people such as Malcolm X, Martin Luther King Jr., W.E.B. Dubois, and more that were ready for a permanent change in the American society. Almost everyone in those days were excited and enthusiastic about learning and becoming something. Failure was not an option to many. The importance of Education now is very different from then in many ways. Then education was almost something many did not want to go without but had no choice. The ones that could make it to school took advantage of it and became a success.
Now in this generation where attending grade school is mandatory until the age of 18 many students see it a punishment. The school systems are better than before and free if public, everyone has the opportunity and the chance regardless of circumstance. A problem with students today is that they find excuses for anything. It’s becoming norm in the African American society as well as the American society for students to become pregnant at a young age and or drop out of school. Students have come to the conclusion that school is not very important and if worst comes to worst they can make a reasonable living off of government assistance. This idea is unfortunately not uncommon. What is rare or surprising are the African American children that take education extremely serious and want to make better for themselves. The African American students that are willing to go to school every day despite personal challenges are the ones that have the urge to be like President Barack Obama. The current president has put a nail on the coffin of those who wanted to prevent African American achievement. There are many challenges that correspond with education today. Many African American children may find it hard attend school because of personal family responsibilities. Many children probably live in single-family homes with either mother or father being the single bread winner.
With this scenario students that may have other siblings find themselves having to work instead of going to school and studying. Also the cost of education to attend a higher institution of learning can be extremely expensive and discourage students to even trying to attend a school. The poverty level in African American communities are extremely high and increasing which is a growing challenge that corresponds with education. All the problems that fall in line with poverty are also corresponding with education of African American’s and the lack thereof. Although many people have used the excuse that because they are black, they do not have the resources or opportunities that others receive: it is at most a false statement that has been proven to be false. It has been proven that anyone can be what they want to be or do what they want to do with a good education and drive. Black history has proven that African American’s in America gained there respect through education and because they are educated despite the challenges they are successful. Just think; why work a hard labor job just to make minimum wage, when you can be the manager making a lot more.