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Know Thy Self: Carter G. Woodson

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Jayme Nicole

on 18 August 2017

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Transcript of Know Thy Self: Carter G. Woodson

Know Thy Self: Carter G. Woodson
What does it mean to "Know Thy Self"?
Do you agree? Disagree? What would you add?
Who was Carter G. Woodson?
African American historian, scholar, educator, and journalist.
One of the first scholars to study African-American history.
Lived during the era of Booker T. Washington, W.E.B DuBois, Marcus Garvey, and A. Phillip Randolph, and Harlem Renaissance.
Developed Negro Week and Black History Month.
Member of the Niagra Movement, which lead to the founding of the NAACP.
"Know Thy Self"
A person who knows not
And knows not that they know not
Is foolish--disregard them

A person who knows not
And knows that they know not
Is simple--teach them

A person who knows not
And believes that they know
Is dangerous--avoid them

A person who knows
And knows not that they know
Is asleep--awaken them

A person who knows
And knows that they know
Is wise--follow them

And all these persons reside in you
Know Thy Self
And to Maat be true

What does it mean to be 'educated'?
What does it mean to be 'miseducated'?
Does a college education make you more "educated"? Why or why not?
How are YOU educated?
What information do you feel is missing from your education?
Essential Questions
Education as a System of Domination
Woodson highlights that blacks are "miseducated" due to the American educational system from slavery to present day (1933)
13th, 14th, 15th Amendment
Quakers Educating Blacks
Morrill Act of 1890
Separate but equal educational system
For blacks, education is as a system of cultural indoctrination and assimilation.
Education for blacks was considered a "banking system".
Educational system perpetuates the superiority and inferiority dichotomy.
The educational system acts as a means of perpetuating the “savior” complex.
In order to reiterate domination, then ideologies must be embedded in the educational system.
What is the "Mis-Education" of the Negro?
Woodson argues that the Negro man is obtaining a formal education, but the education received does not necessarily mean they are educated on the information that is relevant to them.
He questions: "What are you being taught? Is that real education?"
The Negro man was not miseducated because of their OWN merits, nor should they necessarily be content with the education they are receiving.
Blacks are educated on information of the oppressor, not their own.
Even though blacks attended HBCUs, it does not necessarily mean that they are taught from an Afrocentric perspective.
The modern-day educational system designed to ensure that blacks conform to "American Values".
Misrepresented, underrepresented, and disregarded in various disciplines taught to African-Americans.
Quote from Miseducation of Negro
When you control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his actions. You do not have to tell him not to stand here or go yonder. He will find his 'proper place' and will stay in it. You do not need to send him to the back door. He will go without being told. In fact, if there is no back door, he will cut one for his special benefit. His education makes it necessary.

'Highly educated' Negroes denounce persons who advocate for the Negro a sort of education different in some respects from that now given the white man. Negroes who have been so long inconvenienced and denied opportunities for development are naturally afraid of anything that sounds like discrimination. They are anxious to have everything the white man has even if it is harmful. The possibility of originality in the Negro, therefore, is discounted one hundred per cent to maintain a nominal equality.
Quote from Miseducation of Negro
The present system under the control of whites trains the Negro to be white and at the same time convinces him of the impropriety of his becoming white. It compels the Negro to become a good Negro for the performance of which his education is ill-suited.

Quote from Miseducation of Negro
How the Miseducation Occurred

African's contribution of scientific advancements often omitted from the field. (ie Chemistry in Kemet society)

Notion of "ebonics" and "folk language" often regarded as negative. Yet, highlights how blacks integrated African linguistics with European dialect.

African literature often excluded; if not written, then it does not exit in Western society.

Notion that Greek philosophers laid foundation for political and ethical philosophies.

Blacks taught that the laws exist because blacks are criminal by nature
Insinuating that Blacks were always carriers of diseases or sicknesses.

African and African-Americans historically have not contributed to the Western World; our history is taught from our engagement with the oppressor only.
Woodson and notion of "Know Thy Self"
Woodson argues that this self-hate is internalized even among educated blacks.
Inferiority and self-hate resulting in the omission, inferences, and misinformation educated to blacks.
Woodson may claim that "knowing thy self" leads to liberation and real education for African-Americans.
Knowledge of thy self comes through the celebration of African contributions and contributions outside of the West.
Changing the content of information is essential to restoring the consciousness of blacks.
Information will free the minds of blacks.
Change how we view education.
Know Thy Self means to REEDUCATE yourself

Liberation comes from the desire to seek new knowledge
Full transcript