Pub. date: 2010 | Online Pub. Date: December 15, 2009 | DOI: 10.4135/9781412971966 | Print ISBN: 9781412940504 | Online ISBN: 9781412971966| Publisher:SAGE Publications, Inc.About this encyclopedia
Jerome E. Morris
Research on academic achievement among African American students often focuses on their underachievement or failure, its causes, and possible strategies for remediation. In reviewing that research, this entry inevitably reflects that emphasis. Nevertheless, it asserts at the start the historical understanding that laws were eradicated and practices carried out throughout the United States to ensure that enslaved Africans—and their descendants—would not become literate. If they were caught learning how to read or write, enslaved Africans—and the White people who taught them—would be punished. Thus, historically for African American people in the United States, education has been viewed as a passport to freedom. This view is shown by the risks taken by the enslaved during enslavement to learn how to read and write, African Americans' push for mass public schooling in the southern United States during the 19th century, and African Americans' legal and political battles for equal and quality education ...