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.
The Roxbury Freedom School was opened in 1966 by a group of parents who "were tired of the fruitless protests against the Boston School Committee". The school educated elementary school youth under a classroom model in which both a teacher and a community Mother taught the students to relate the "child's world to the classroom".
As part of the Freedom Stay Out day, 20,571 children, nearly 22% of Boston's public school population, skipped classes on February 26, 1964. Children flocked to the 34 Freedom Schools set up for the day by civil rights leaders. The Massachusetts Freedom Movement organized the boycott to "[amplify] Negro grievances over the schools, especially the alleged existence of de facto segregation."
Ebony Magazine began in 1945 to showcase middle-class black lifestyles to combat the typically negative depictions of black people in the media. Ebony used Life magazine as a model to depict the goings on and glamours of black middle-class life. Its founder, John H. Johnson, increased the magazine's popularity by warming it up to corporate advertisers arguing that black consumers would patronize brands representing black people. The magazine also contained articles on African American history, in addition to pieces on lifestyle, which helped bring black history and its figures into the light within overall American history.
During his commencement speech at Morehouse College in 2019, Robert Smith announced that he and his family would be creating a grant to eliminate the student loan debt of the entire graduating class. This debt surpassed 34 million and eliminating this burden on the graduating students immediately changed their financial trajectories.
In 2007, journalist and philanthropist Oprah Winfrey opened the Oprah Winfrey Leadership Academy for Girls, a boarding school in the Gauteng province of South Africa. She funded the creation of a school for economically disadvantaged girls, who are able to attend free of charge. Since opening, the school has educated hundreds of girls in South Africa, most of whom are Black.
Graduate Students at the Georgia Institute of Technology in Atlanta created Universal Black Pages - a directory to keep abreast of African American websites. The growing directory which includes thousands of websites now, helps users find a variety of information focussed on African American interests, ranging from Black-owned businesses to hip-hop. Other websites such as www.soulsearch.com - "the search engine for the world's people of color" also help users navigate amongst black-oriented websites on the internet.
God’s Way Christian Baptist Church, located in Taylor, Texas, organizes community dialogues and provides resources on mental health to the black community to combat stigma and increase awareness of mental health issues and steps forward. The ministers and pastors act as not only spiritual leaders but also as educators and organize dialogues to discuss topics such as the role of mental health in the criminal justice system to develop better responses from law enforcement. The Wellness and Empowerment Community Ministries initiatives create a strong space for inclusivity and empathy to educate the black community on mental health and foster a similar sense of community amongst multiple churches.
Eating disorders within the black community have historically been encouraged by systematic poverty and food insecurity, lack of access to healthcare, and stigma from within and outside of the black 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 the “Ancestral Legacies & Eating Disorders in Black Communities” talk discuss the impact eating disorders have on the black community and discuss how to overcome ancestral trauma to embrace healing.
Oldways is a nonprofit organization that seeks to reintroduce traditional African, Caribbean, Latin American, and Mediterranean diets to POC communities to combat disproportionately high rates of obesity and comorbidities. Adrian Mosley, an administrator from Johns Hopkins, has combined faith with Oldways’ curriculum to reach a larger portion of the African American community in Baltimore, Maryland. The program connects biblical lessons to cooking traditions from Africa to encourage healthier eating and cooking habits among its participants.
Kiara Whack is a chef and mental health advocate from Hampton, Virginia who is using her background in psychology and her personal experiences to educate people on how changing your diet can change your mental state. She educates people on the power of superfoods through her company Traveling Thyme Bomb, LLC, and has published a memoir of her experiences and lessons titled Dis(Re)covery: An Autobiography for Edible Consumption.