Employing an African Diaspora Lens: A Review of Afrocentric Education in the United States (1980 - 2000)

Danyelle T. Brown-Willis
Howard University


This paper synthesizes scholarly discourse on the topic of Afrocentric education, including the context of Afrocentricity as a cultural movement in Black American society; family values and structures; school choice and critical considerations. The contribution of this work is to highlight the ways Afrocentric education flourished in the last two decades of the 20th century. Afrocentricity as an identity framework has contributed to the development of the children raised in this context, shaping many experiences including their cognitive processes, motivations, and interpretations of the world around them. Theorists, education practitioners, psychologists, and social activists have participated in the discussion around the significance of an Afrocentric experience, or a strong ethnic identity, for the development of Black American children. Parents who identify with an Afrocentric worldview, and prefer this for their children, guide these experiences along with the adults and peers that they encounter in an African-centered school setting. A conclusion suggests how future research should explore ways in which these childhood experiences influence outcomes in adulthood. Inquiry of related topics such as the role of language and naming, within-racial group experiences as contrasted with experiences with children from other racial groups, and memories of organized community events and activities may give further insight into the Afrocentric childhood.

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