Encyclopedia of African-American Education. – book reviews - Higher Education

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Encyclopedia of African-American Education. – book reviews

by Thelma Tate

This unique, well-organized and well documented work is an essential
source about African American education that fills a noticeable gap in
resources in this area. It brings together a collection of laws,
biographies, concepts, journals, movements, organizations, and
institutions from varied sources and presents them in a single, useful

The Encyclopedia of African American Education covers such topics as
“The Little Rock Nine,” “Ideological Origins of African American
Education,” “Voting Rights Act of 1965,” “Shad Sisters of Washington,
D.C.,” “Teachers, African American, Recruitment and Shortages,”
“Underclass,” “Self-Concept Development and Education,” “Self Help
Tradition, African Americans,” as well as the “Yale Child Study
Center,” and “A Better Chance, Inc.”

A key feature of the work is the extensive number of public laws
related to the education of African Americans with full-text location
in The United States Statutes At Large, The United Supreme Court
Reports, and the like. The selected bibliography and the names of the
authors at the end of each section provide additional options for
research on the topic. Also, the bibliography at the end of the volume
includes many excellent works for further readings.

The encyclopedia is a scholarly work developed by world renowned
authors such as historians Rayford W. Logan and Michael R. Winston, and
Richard Kluger, author of Simple Justice. Logan, Winston and Kluger
focused on Charles Hamilton – who, in addition to serving as editor of
the Harvard Law Review, was a key counselor of the National Association
for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP). In fact, Hamilton helped
plan the organization’s campaign against racial segregation in public
schools that culminated in the U.S. Supreme Court’s 1954 ruling in
Brown v. The Board of Education of Topeka, Kansas.

Discussions about multicultural education are at the forefront of
many aspects of our society – from the early education of children to
the halls of academe, from employment offices to businesses and
industries. Margo Okazawa-Rey defines this broad category of theories
and practices by looking at the history of the development of the term,
major principles on which multicultural education rest, and strategies
for bringing about a multicultural society. Users of this work will
find discussions of the impact of European and European Americans on
the overall society, the problems of schooling, the goal of inter-group
education, and comments about critics of multicultural education.

Some of the uniqueness of this book is reflected in a section on
“White-Flight” authored by Faustine C. Jones-Wilson. Because many works
in the social sciences have limited or no coverage of such topics,
educators, sociologists, business specialists and people with similar
interests will find this an excellent tool for identifying, defining
and explaining many terms related to the phenomenon of White families
fleeing desegregated schools.

The encyclopedia also takes a look at Justin Morrill, who sponsored
the legislation that resulted in the Morrill Act of 1862. This historic
legislation provided for the creation of land-grant colleges which
included agricultural, mechanical and technical arts curricula. It also
laid the foundation for the second Morrill Act of 1890, which required
Southern states to provide money and land for the development of
institutions for freedmen. It was this act that led to the
establishment of several historically Black colleges and universities
such as Alabama A&M, Florida A&M and Texas A&M. The work
discusses the impact of agricultural education from this early period
through the extension workers, the New Homemakers of America, the
Future Farmers of America, and into the drastic decline of land and
farmers of the 1990s.

In the section on mathematics and African Americans, Michele F.
Chappell and Deborah H. Najee-Ullah point to factors that influence the
mathematical orientation of African Americans, their participation and
achievement – which results in their under-representation – in advanced
mathematics and science-related coursework and careers. They also
explore demographic factors which indicate that current trends reflect
few racial/ethnic role models in mathematics classrooms.

Further, the authors point to the impact of rapid technological
advances in our society which are causing the education, government and
business sectors to rethink requirements for the future and advocate
the systematic examination of mathematics learning among African
American students. The authors also point to the need for school policy
makers to move beyond the tracking and marginalization of students
through tests and other assessments that prevent them from gaining
access to the mathematics that matter.

As an academic librarian and author working with researchers,
students and administrators in a university environment, I can attest
to the dearth of volumes where the focus on African Americans is as
precise as within the pages of this book. Not only does it include a
great deal of hard-to-find facts and information, it presents them in a
clear and concise manner.

This work is an essential purchase for academic, public and school
libraries. It is also a must for every small library that has few
resources – including home-school libraries. Further, it is the kind of
book that should be on any list of important works for special
donations, gifts and family discussions.

COPYRIGHT 1997 Cox, Matthews & Associates

© Copyright 2005 by DiverseEducation.com

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