Reflection 1: Diversity in America

Carter G. Woodson was a very inspirational man and was often referred to as the “father of Black history” because the impact and the way he impacted the transformative scholarship of African Americans.  Rather than using the contemporary methods of the time to combat segregation and discrimination, Woodson used more of an intellectual approach through meetings, articles, original documents, and books reviews published in The Journal of Negro History. Woodson also used monographs, pamphlets and books published by Associated Publishers. Woodson believed that these measures would be able to counter the White racist scholarship. Woodson ultimately felt that knowledge of their past would help African American students aspire to positions of leadership and teach them about community solidarity.

Many of Woodson’s endeavors were successful in not only educating the African American population of their historical past but the fact that the materials produced by Woodson were being assimilated into schools, even the White schools. Negro History Week was established to show the achievements of African Americans and to induce educational authorities to incorporate this into the current curriculum on Negro life and history. Negro Week was primarily a book week to stimulate the writing and sales of books on aspects of African American life and history. White firms as well as Associated Publishers were producing books on African American History. The observance of Negro History Week was even spread into White schools because of the publicity the event was receiving in educational journals. This was one of the few achievements that was established by Woodson, more importantly to Woodson was that important historical documents were saved and a generation of African Americans acquired positive knowledge of their past in hopes that these individuals will be inspired into leadership roles.

Allison Davis had many views of the current education system and through various measures attempted to bring transformative knowledge to American academia. Davis believed that one’s social class can dramatically influence the way children learn. Current school systems viewed students who come from culture or social classes that are different from the mainstream will be viewed as unsuccessful or academically unable. The problem was that schools were not adapting to the students rather the students were the ones that needed to change to fit the school. Davis’s theories were reinforced by the publication of The Bell Curve which showed that traditional conceptions of intelligence promote inequality. Davis’s work set this the theory of social classes influencing learning into motion. The impact that Davis had on education should not be overlooked, but Davis’s idea to instill transformative knowledge in American academia was mostly unsuccessful – his historical contributions are important for understanding the development of multicultural education. Davis’s works of: Deep South, Children of Bondage, and Social Class Influences upon Learning provided a foundation which the goals and premises of multicultural education are built upon.


One thought on “Reflection 1: Diversity in America

  1. Both of these scholars left impact on American society, and also had difficulties. Woodson could not get a teaching position at Harvard and Davis’ intelligence test design was not successful. I find it interesting that we still celebrate Black History Month (a prodigy of Black History Week) but very few have heard of Woodson.

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