It’s time for Black Schools: Lessons from the Black supplementary school movement

CERS lunchtime seminar

Date: 4th February 1.00pm – 2.00pm
Location: Room 12.25, Social Sciences Building

Kehinde Andrews, Birmingham City University

The Black supplementary school movement started in Britain in the mid-1960s. It was instigated by Black (African Caribbean and later African) parents who saw the racism that their children experienced in the school system. The supplementary school movement aimed to provide spaces on evenings and weekends where Black children could learn the basics in Maths, English and Science and also engage in an education of Black culture and history.

This paper will discuss some of the key lessons for understanding how communities challenge racism by examining the Black supplementary school movement in Britain, and is based on work in the book Resisting racism: Race, inequality and the Black supplementary school movement (2013).

Based on an analysis of the continued racism in the school system and the limitations of the Black supplementary school movement, the paper will argue that the problems of racism in the school system and wider society are permanent features of Western society and will become more entrenched and institutionalised. On this basis the paper will argue that it is time to build a new kind of education, which can equip students with the necessary instrumental skills to participate in society; that does not prejudice experience of Black young people; and one that critically engages with the endemic racism present in British society. Developing an education from a Black critical perspective can be a part of mounting a significant challenge to the racism that lies at the heart of British society.