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Black perspective needed


Black colleges fail to give students a proper perspective on their heritage, the founder of an African-oriented school said in a recent discussion on black education.

"All African colleges are nothing but carbon copies of European colleges. They teach the same thing, the European perspective," said Sensazakulu Zulu, founder of the Ujamaa (collective economics) Shule (school), of Washington.

The discussion, titled "Need, Potential and Feasibility of an Independent African School System," was sponsored by the S.O.U.L. School Institute and the student government of Sojourner-Douglass College. It was held at the college.

Part of the purpose of the meeting was to set up a task force to develop a "shule" or school system from pre-kindergarten through college.

The panelists were Sheila Moore, an instructor at the Park Heights Street Academy, Mr. Zulu, and Dr. Charles Simmons, founder and president of Sojourner-Douglass.

The panelists spoke of an "African" school system, as opposed to a public school "multi-cultural" system.

Dr. Simmons said that the African American community should "exercise our right to educational and political self-determination, and move collectively to define for ourselves the significance of education from our own perspective," in a worldwide system of independent African schools.

He suggested that the curriculum should be "project-oriented, providing students an opportunity to link theory with practice, to test theory in application."

Mr. Zulu attended Howard University's School of Law. He says he became a founding member of the Student Non-violent Coordinating Committee before he felt the need to become more involved through the worlds of business and education.

Ms. Moore spoke from the perspective of being an instructor at Park Heights Academy. A researcher with the African Heritage Education and Research Institute, she is a member of the African American Women's Caucus. She is a former teacher with the Baltimore public school system.

"It is obvious that the present systems have failed our people and we see that every day," she said. "I think that it might have been rather naive for us to think that it was even supposed to do anything for us in the first place. Many of us, including educators and activists, lack serious discipline for self-study."

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