Education comes in many forms. From community altar building toolkits to political education events, these stories feature Black people teaching skills, lessons, recipes, and ways of being.
Eating disorders within Black communities have historically been exacerbated by systematic poverty and food insecurity, lack of access to healthcare, and stigma from within and outside of the community. However, there has been an increased push to talk about eating disorders within Black communities, as well as the intersection between race and mental health, by black doctors, therapists, and others in the health community. Events such as Whitney Trotter and Alishia McCullough's “Ancestral Legacies & Eating Disorders in Black Communities” discussion engage the impact eating disorders have on Black people and discuss how to overcome ancestral trauma to embrace healing.
The Sonny House is an organization founded by LeAnn Holden Martin to help intellectually disabled students become leaders in their communities through a job skills training program. Students learn real world job skills, participate in art exhibitions, community engagement projects, and more. The Sonny House helps these students be seen for more than their disabilities, and Ms.Holden-Martin's efforts to engage these students is an example of centering and caring for our most marginalized.
Chidiebere Ibe is a medical illustrator from Nigeria that is best known for his drawing of a Black fetus. Ibe is passionate about diversifying medical illustration to improve health outcomes for Black people. As a self taught artist, Ibe learned to make medical drawings from studying textbooks. His work is now sought after across the world, as he continues to advocate for diversity, education, and a more realistic reflection of the world around us. Ibe's work is an act of care, as the lack of diversity in medical illustration can lead to misdiagnoses for various medical conditions on darker skin.
The Detroit Black Community Food Share Network is an organization founded in 2006 to combat food insecurity in the predominantly Black communities of Detroit. The DBCFSN hopes to encourage black people to take up more active leadership roles in the food security movement. They operate seven acres of a farm where a variety of produce is grown and maintained along with other resources such as beehives, a rainwater retention pond, and a solar energy station.
The Black Churches Project trains church teachers and tutors to help fill the gaps in the education that black students receive. Historically black students and the school districts that serve them have been underfunded but black churches are uniquely poised to reach a large number of students and provide them with resources they may not receive in school such as paying for field trips and offering courses in specialized subjects like computer science. The church also provides a space to learn spiritual and moral education to encourage the children to stay in the school system while also combining spiritual and scientific learning in harmony.
The Children’s Defense Fund’s Freedom Schools Program provides summer and after-school programs for K-12 schools in underserved communities. The program held at Providence Baptist Church serves majority black students in Greensboro, NC. The program also engages parent and family involvement and focuses on fostering nutritional and mental health. The Freedom Schools Programs are hosted by hundreds of organizations across the country to reach thousands of students and foster good pedagogy.
“This is a Low” is a play written by Cris Eli Blak that follows a young black man, Jude, as he warms up to a mental health counselor in the psychiatric unit he is being held in while he deals with suicidal ideation. The play utilizes Blak’s own experiences with mental health and he hopes that it will encourage other young people to seek help if needed. Blak also wants to communicate that dealing with mental health is not a linear journey and to be honest when communicating how it feels to navigate life each day.
Celeste Henry introduces the history of black healthcare in Galveston, Texas at the conception of the University of Texas Medical Branch (UTMB), the state’s first medical school which also had the first department focusing on black health which had the ability to treat a large number of people. Racialized social determinants of health have made the black population disproportionately affected by health issues and historically there has been very little if no, health access (in terms of both treatment and practice) for black people before widespread integration. However, doctors from historically black universities had opened their own practices to treat black patients, not only physiologically but also taking into account the emotional and psychological aspects of healthcare. Practitioners such as Dr. Edith Jones (the first black graduate of the University of Arkansas Medical School) approached medical care for the black community as a layered system, in which cultivating black health and well-being also cultivated society at large.
The 1964 Mississippi Freedom Summer was perhaps the most ambitious extended campaign of the entire Civil Rights Movement. Over the course of roughly two months, more than 1,000 volunteers arrived in Mississippi to help draw media attention to the state’s Black freedom movement, to register African American voters, and to teach in Freedom Schools that were established to supplement the inferior educational opportunities provided to black youths in the state’s public schools.
In 1966, New School for Children was opened in Roxbury by a local parents' group under the mission of being "a genuine community school, and a terribly exciting place educationally." The school's educational model focused on experiential learning with projects, learning outside the classroom, and engaging with community members across occupations to offer instruction as teacher aides or tutors. The school educated children between kindergarten and grade four, offering partial and full scholarships to all in need.