How Education Affects the African American Families? - Essay Sample

Paper Type:  Critical thinking
Pages:  7
Wordcount:  1719 Words
Date:  2022-06-02


Education is a social issue that impacts black families in the United States. Past experiences show that African Americans were not favored in the acquisition of education. Different factors hindered people from black families to enroll in school programs. As time passed, things changed, and some Africans could enroll in school programs which they were once restricted. However, despite the fact that they could attend schools, they were restricted to certain fields which were seen as equivalent to their social status. In this case, social infers to the organization of the African American communities and how they relate to different contemporary aspects. Different social aspects, impact relationships among the African American families as well as people from other social backgrounds in varying degrees. However, the effect of social aspects and perspectives depends on the context and level at which people relate. Accordingly, education is a social issue that impacts positively the nature of relationships among intellectuals as well as between the learned and those who are under-privileged regarding their education status. In the past, people believed that African Americans had no capability of enrolling in American education systems, but currently, people from black families have excelled in different fields of education.

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Education was restricted to black families more specifically during the era of slavery. The whites felt that literacy among people of color could steer their desire to fight for equality among all people despite their social backgrounds. Therefore, it remained an option for the whites to restrict black people from acquiring education to control them and use them as their servants on their farms. To be able to achieve their interests, whites enforced anti-literacy laws which defined the restriction of education rights among people of color and particularly to the slaves and freedmen. The laws were enforced in almost all the southern states since they boasted of being slave states in the US at the time (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2016). The whole context of antislavery laws came into force when David Walker published his work Appeal to the Coloured Citizens of the World in 1829. Therefore, it became hard for people from black families in the US to acquire education due to the enactment and enforcement of laws which prohibited them from attending school programs.

Attempts of slaves to escape stirred even further the call to restrict people of color from acquiring education. According to the white men in the slavery era, literacy among people from black families threatened their capacity to control and have an effective surveillance network for slaves in the southern states. Their woes are justified by records showing how literate slaves were able to forge their traveling papers, an act which enabled them to escape to the northern part of the country. Therefore, it became a necessity for many slaveholders to hinder their servants from attending schooling programs. As to be able to handle African Americans effectively, the whites increased working hours in a way that the slaves could not have enough time to enroll in education systems (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2016). Moreover, the whole context of education restriction was accelerated through their decision to make it clear to the African Americans that they were not supposed to attend or acquire any knowledge regarding education under any circumstances. Failure to live as per white man directives was treated with such magnitude as any other law breaking act. Therefore, it became difficult for people of color to achieve any education ambition.

Traditional perspectives such as the notion that African Americans could not enroll in certain fields of education also impacted black families significantly. Historical records show that fields such as law were restricted to only the whites (Cole, 2017). Therefore, black people never got any chance to enroll in fields which were believed to be of the masters. As civil rights movements gained popularity in the southern regions, some were able to acquire education, but not as per their desires since other disciplines could only be got in the white schools. The hardship of acquiring knowledge regarding the so-called Whiteman's education was accelerated on the foundation of the education system of America during the era. Therefore, African Americans continued to live in poverty and harsh conditions since highly paying jobs were associated with literacy. Education restriction among people of color impacted black families negatively since they could only work on farms where they were exploited to varying degrees (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2016). For instance, they could work for long hours without being paid overtime payments. Moreover, they were only eligible to live in their master's households which were in bad conditions. Therefore, restriction of education to African Americans affected their social lives since they were not able to progress economically.

However, different radical groups, particularly those who were engaged in civil rights movements played a vital role in demolishing traditional perspective regarding restriction of education among people of color (Cole, 2017). The groups passed through different detrimental situations during their fight for equality among all people despite their social backgrounds. The achievement of their effort was gradual, but they continued fighting for their rights tirelessly (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2016). Currently, black families boast of their ability to be successful in education fields as their peers from the white communities can through their efforts.

The success of civil rights movements was first justified by the establishment of the freedman's schools in the southern states. To civil right movements, education was a primary focus of reconstruction. They, therefore, fought effortlessly towards achieving their goals. Their determination was however met with different hardships since they risked their lives in so doing the act of calling for equal education opportunities regardless of an individual's social or ethnic background (Cole, 2017). On the other hand, those who were found to be literate, contrary to the wish of the Whiteman were subjected to beatings and amputations (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2016). However, all the assaults which were made to radical groups did not stop them from fighting for their rights. Their desire to have a nation which had equality in all social aspects of life became their main drive towards their achievement. Therefore, as time passed, several successes were seen in the life of African Americans. Their ability to gain liberty gradually enabled them to improve their lifestyle. One by one they started to be phenomenal in whatever activity they conducted since people were already becoming literate. Their achievement became marked by their ability to rise to different posts in the American economy and not only by the establishment of schools where they could be educated. Notably, the traditional perspective of education restriction among people of color diminished as time passed rendering to the positive outcomes that are seen currently among African American communities.

The inaccuracies and myths of education restriction to African Americans are justified by the current position of black people in the economy of America. It has become entirely difficult to cite particular African American individuals who have attained higher levels of literacy since the number is extremely large. However, some intellectuals such as Martin Luther King managed to acquire an education with which he used to advance civil rights in dignified manners which caused no detrimental impacts to people. In general, a huge number of African Americans have excelled in different education fields, thus justifying the inaccuracies of traditional perspectives that black people were not eligible to enroll in school programs. Therefore, there is a great difference between the traditional perspectives and the lived realities regarding education and literacy levels among African Americans.

The liberty enjoyed by Americans especially equality in all social aspects including the right to universal education has improved the lives of black people (Cole, 2017). In the past, black families were associated with poor neighborhoods as well as hardships. Many African Americans were subjected to hard labor since they were not literate to make them eligible to work in white collar jobs. However, the gradual impact of civil right movements has helped shape the traditional perspectives positively. African Americans are currently living in households and neighborhoods which were once afforded by only the whites. Moreover, black people have become well educated an aspect which cannot be taken for granted. As previously stated, the eligibility of African Americans to enroll to education fields of their desires proves to be the main pillar for the change in their social welfare. The efforts of the civil rights movements were first marked with the establishment of schools which could only be attended by the people of color (Ladson-Billings & Tate, 2016). Their determination for equality in education and other social aspects continued impacting American systems until people understood the importance of equality regardless of an individual's social or ethnic background. Currently, the whites, as well as the African Americans, are studying in same schools an aspect which was not common during the slavery era. The whole context justifies that the excel of African Americans in different aspects of life is a positive outcome of the civil right movements as well as justifications of the inaccuracies of traditional and mythical perspectives of restricting black people from learning.


In conclusion, education is a social issue that impacts African Americans in the United States of America. In the past, black people were not allowed to acquire the education at any level due to the fear of the whites of losing their supremacy to the people of color. However, through continued strikes and participating in radical movements, African Americans were able to demolish the restrictions subjected to them regarding their day to day activities. The gradual changes that took place as time passed increased the gap between the myths and traditional perspectives and the living realities in that as opposed to lack of literate people among black people. Currently, African Americans are well learned and occupy top posts in the US government, an act which accelerates economic growth and development of the country. The whole context of education as a social issue depicts that people should fight with determination if they are to realize positive outcomes in any restrictions subjected to them however gradual the process may take place.


Cole, M. (Ed.). (2017). Education, equality and human rights: issues of gender,'race', sexuality, disability and social class. Routledge.

Ladson-Billings, G., & Tate IV, W. F. (2016). Toward a critical race theory of education. In Critical race theory in education (pp. 21-41). Routledge.

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