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The Shame of Black America Isn’t that Black Boys Can’t Read; The Shame Is that Black America Does Little to Help Them Learn to Read!

By Phillip Jackson, The Black Star Project

Nationally, about 10% of 8th-grade Black males read at or above a proficient level. In other words, on average, if you count any 100 young Black men, only 10 of them read at a proficient level.

In Detroit, only 3 out of 100 young Black men read at or above a proficient level. How is this acceptable to Black America? Where is the protest?  I (Phillip Jackson) have challenged Black people to tell me that these statistics are not accurate, but so far, no challenges. In fact, only silence!

How did we, Black people, allow this to occur on our watch? And what will we do about it?

Break the Cycle: Teach Black Boys to Read Well by the 4th Grade. Here’s How?

  1. Read to Black boys between birth and 10 years old.
  2. Emphasize the value of education–not sports, not entertainment, not games–when Black boys are 2 to 12 years old.
  3. Give Black boys books for their birthdays, holidays, and to reward them for jobs well done.
  4. Enroll Black boys in a Young Black Male Reading Academy at your church, park district, library or school.  (Call The Black Star Project at 773.285.9600 for assistance setting up your Black Male Reading Academy)
  5. Have Black boys between the ages of 5 and 15 years old read aloud to you for at least 30 minutes a week.
  6. Monitor and regulate the content of media your Black boys consume.
  7. Immerse Black boys in positive, education-based peer groups.
  8. Find a mentor or a mentoring group for your young Black men.
  9. Include culture, spirituality, history, economics, languages and critical thinking in the education of Black boys.
  10. Ask the White House to support The Black Star Plan to teach Black boys to read well by 4th grade.


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