Black History Is Invisible To Most; Yet Invaluable To All

Knowledge of Black folk’s “pre-slavery” history can make a difference” for all people. It is unknown to most people; yet it is Invaluable” to all.

  1. The IdeaA Sign of the Times (ASOTT) of the Carolinas will collaborate with educational institutions, research centers and local community groups to implement a structured and hopefully entertaining approach to learning Black history for youth (in grades K through 12) and their parents. This is an extension of Executive Director Tyrone Jefferson’s personal story – and his belief that an understanding of the “pre-slavery” history of Black folks makes everyone a better citizen.
  2. ProductASOTT designed the following curriculum and competencies:
    • Curriculum: A multimedia / web-based curriculum that incorporates dance, music and the spoken word in each session to share the history of Black folks.
    • Each session starts with Black history presented through Dance. The facilitator will use a current dance (that young people know) and relate that dance to its African equivalent. This is a participatory session.  (30 minutes)
    • Music is the next session – where the facilitator performs songs (that young people know). Similar to dance, the facilitator will relate the music to similar components in traditional African music. (30 minutes)
    • The Spoken Word session consists of several 5-minute (or less) multimedia presentations in the style of YouTube videos that cover epochal periods in Black History. Question and Answer sessions are held after each presentation. (45 minutes)
    • Self-assessment exercises in the style of Bingo or a Jeopardy TV-show will allow each participant to gauge how much they learned each week.
  3. Duration: Seven (7) two-hour sessions held on Saturday mornings on June 18th 2016, June 25th, July 9th , July 16th , July 23rd , July 30th , and Aug 6th from 10 a.m. to 12 noon.Healthy refreshments will be available for participants.
  4. Target Audience: Hidden Valley Elementary School, Martin Luther King Middle School (Hidden Valley neighborhood) and West Charlotte High School.
    (Maximum class size: 30 students – not including parents)
  5. Location: TBD (possible locations include Greenville Memorial A.M.E. Zion Church, UNC-Charlotte’s uptown campus or Little Rock A.M.E. Zion’s’ Community Development Center in uptown Charlotte.)

Self evaluations from students and parents will provide feedback on the impacts of the curriculum. 3-month, 6-month and 9-month follow-up evaluations with parents, teachers, school administrators, and community / religious organizations will be used to evaluate the impact of the summer curriculum.

Potential Partners:

Arts and Science Council PEW Research Center
Charlotte Mecklenburg Schools Johnson C. Smith University
Henry Louis Gates –PBS Series UNC – Charlotte
African-American Cultural Centers Kemet Natural Foods
Mecklenburg Public Libraries Dr. Curtis Grier
Rev. Dr. Sheldon Shipman Sycamore Dance Project
Bro. Ahmose Kherpara Dr. Jamal Turner
Chuck Davis Dance Ensemble A Sign Of The Times Band

This program made possible by a grant from the James L. Knight Foundation

Issues Facing the Black Community:

  1. As it pertains to the education:
    • Almost three-quarters (75%) or more of fourth and eighth grade Black and Hispanic public school students could not read or compute at grade level in 2013
    • One in 3 Black students (33%) and 3 in 10 Hispanic and American Indian/Alaska Native students did not graduate from high school in four years in 2013.Source: See The 2014 Children’s Defense Fund Report on The State of America’s Children®
  1. As it pertains to the suspension of “preschool children” (by race/ethnicity and gender):
    • Black children represent 18% of preschool enrollment, but 48% of preschool children receiving more than one out-of-school suspension; in comparison, white students represent 43% of preschool enrollment but 26% of preschool children receiving more than one out of school suspension. Boys represent 79% of preschool children suspended once and 82% of preschool children suspended multiple times, although boys represent 54% of preschool enrollment.
    • Disproportionately high suspension/expulsion rates for students of color: Black students are suspended and expelled at a rate three times greater than white students. On average, 5% of white students are suspended, compared to 16% of black students.
    • Disproportionate suspensions of girls of color: While boys receive more than two out of three suspensions, black girls are suspended at higher rates (12%) than girls of any other race or ethnicity and most boys; American Indian and Native-Alaskan girls (7%) are suspended at higher rates than white boys (6%) or girls (2%). Source: See CIVIL RIGHTS DATA COLLECTION Data Snapshot: School Discipline Issue Brief No. 1 (March 2014) at:
  1. As it pertains to gun violence in America:
    • Black children and teens were 17 times more likely to be killed by a gun than children in 25 other high-income countries combined. Sources: Children’s Defense Fund analysis of 2012data from World Health Organization, Inter-country Comparison of Mortality for Selected Cause of Death – Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, 2010, Fatal Injury Reports. Chart includes the latest data available for each country: 2010 for all countries except Belgium and Denmark (2006), and France, Greece, Hungary, Israel, Italy and Luxembourg (2009). Rates are not age-adjusted. Data were not available for Australia, Japan, South Korea, New Zealand and Switzerland.
    • Gun violence disproportionately affects children of color. In 2010, Black children and teens were nearly five times (and Hispanic children and teens more than three times) more likely to be killed by guns than White children and teens.
    • Gun violence is the leading cause of death among Black children and teens ages 1-19 and the second leading cause of death (behind car accidents) for all children and teens ages 1-19. Source: The 2014 Children’s Defense Fund Report on The State of America’s Children®