After years of efforts towards desegregation, federal laws on civil rights in addition to attempts to close the gap in achievement, there are still issues remaining when it comes to educating Black children.

Efforts encouraging the engagement of Black parents surrounding reaching this elusive goal, community and educators tackle issues of leadership, education, and policy throughout urban schools in a recent discussion.


Led by Linda Tillman, a professor emeritus for education leadership in the University of North Carolina located in Chapel Hill, the conference discussed challenges being faced by teachers and leaders, who are also African American, as they strive to educate children of the black community.

“We are here to revisit old discussions and bring fresh ideas,” said Tillman. “Jim Crow has affected Blacks in so many ways. Black education is a right not solely based on White norms.”

Terri Watson, one of the panellists who hails from the City College of New York (CCNY), and co-creator of the CCNY-based project “Growing Our Own Doctors,” stated that there is not just a need to provide a better education, rather also a desire for safer regions for the Black students.

“We have to focus on creating space where kids are informed and active, that’s important,” said Watson. “We have to let the kids know that the world is waiting for them, they’re up next and we have to change their mindset that the world views them as disposable.”


Rodney Hopson, associate dean in the education psychology department at the George Mason University, and Sonya Douglass Horsford, associate professor at the education leadership sector of the Teachers College at Columbia University, as well as M. Christopher Brown II, president at Kentucky State University, all participated in this panel during the annual legislative conference for the Congressional Black Caucus Foundation.

“We have to engage in parallel efforts…we need to reimagine schools and school systems that support everyone,” Horsford said.