Urban Myth Busters: Black Men Don’t Excel Academically

Black men pursuing higher education unheard of?

By: Taren Vaughan

Jaw-dropping statistics lead many of us to believe that the above statement rings true for all African American males. Education is not anywhere near the top of their list of priorities or even if it is apart of their lists at all. With high school dropout rates continuing to remain high and with sisters steadily out numbering them on college campuses, one would think there is no need to speak of Black men achieving at higher educational levels.

“School and Black men just don’t mix” is the thought that many people have grown to believe.

That may be true for some Black men but it was men like W.E.B. DuBois who put that theory up for question.

On February 23, 1868, William Edward Burghardt DuBois was born in the cold state of Massachusetts and unlike most African Americans at that time, DuBois didn’t experience the harsh racism that other Black people did as his family was accepted in the community. DuBois took advantage of his unusual situation, focusing on the one thing that he had full control over…His mind.

Not only did he attend college but he took his pursuit of higher education a step further and became the first African American to earn a doctorate degree from the prestigious Harvard University, the same institution that President Obama graduated from with a degree in law.

With all of the education that he received, W.E.B. DuBois decided that it was time he took on the teacher role becoming a professor at Atlanta University. Academics were of extreme importance to him but he never stopped fighting for the rights of African Americans, co-founding the NAACP and leading the Niagara Movement.

Numbers don’t lie and stats are straightforward. But they don’t solely determine the future of our young Black men. What will become of them is not based on these things alone. It all comes down to their determination, self drive to make something of yourself and become anything but the stereotype.

Are the odds against Black men excelling when it comes to education? Yes.

But are there those who defy the ignorance that is attached to our race? Yes.

DuBois did.

And so have the many educated brothers that have followed in his footsteps.

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