African-Centered Schooling in Theory and Practice

By Diane S. Pollard; Cheryl S. Ajirotutu | Go to book overview

2
A Portrait of the African American
Immersion Elementary School

When the bell rings, children begin to form single files as they wait patiently on the playground for their teachers to appear. As each teacher leads his or her class into the building, an observer cannot help but be impressed by the orderly manner in which they file into the school in their uniforms. As one enters the main door, a bright yellow wall with a colorful rainbow to the immediate right welcomes you to the school. As one walks through the hallways, the students' work decorates the walls. Throughout the school, one cannot help but notice the African-centered focus of the students' work ranging from Anansi artwork by first graders to biographies of famous African Americans written by third and fourth graders. Soon after the children have gone to their classrooms, a child's voice can be heard on the intercom throughout the school, announcing the following:

Good morning, my name is___, and I will be your reader this week. Today is Tuesday, November 4. . . . On this day in 1979, Richard Arrington was elected the first African American mayor of Birmingham, Alabama. Our positive affirmation for the week is "Self- help is the best help." I repeat, "self-help is the best help." We will now have our pledges.

This announcement is followed by a chorus of students from an entire class who recite two pledges over the loudspeaker. In each classroom in the school, the rest of the students join in. First, facing a red, black, and green flag, the students recite the following African American Pledge of Allegiance:

I pledge allegiance to the flag of African American people. Under God, I will protect freedom, generate unity, seek peace, honor our ancestors, and encourage and support the development and prosperity of people of African descent.

-33-

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