Monday, January 16, 2012

Don't Forget the Climb to the Mountaintop

Youth must know the histories of freedom struggles beyond MLK and Mandela, says a civil rights vet.

Don't Forget the Climb to the Mountaintop

Jesse Jackson Sr. talked about the "parallel histories" of the American and South African quests for racial justice as he recalled some of the leaders and foot soldiers of each struggle during the ANC's 100th anniversary celebration recently. As I listened, I found myself wondering how many of the younger generation in either country could relate such stories off the tops of their heads. The stories of those struggles aren't told in their fullness and complexity in the schools of either nation.

Recent studies in the U.S., for example, report that the younger generation's knowledge about even the civil rights movement of the 1960s -- let alone the generations-old history of black resistance to unjust laws designed to keep them "in their place" -- is practically non-existent. They might know about Martin Luther King Jr., and maybe Rosa Parks. But what about all the others who led President Barack Obama to say that he stood "on the shoulders of giants"?

Click here to see the rest of Charlaye Hunter-Gault's article in The Root

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