Paterson New Jersey Public Education System could us some help from the Historical Black Churches in America. In an article appearing in the New Jersey Record October 8, 2016, Joe Malinconico, writes ” Paterson widens test score gap.” addressing the New Jersey Education Department PARCC test results. The Partnership for Assessment of Readiness for College and Careers, suggest that black students are not ready for college or careers. No one is paying attention to the fact that teachers are taught one curriculum in college and tested on different knowledge, or that black students are also taught one curriculum and tested on another. It is the scores that count. Maybe it is time for the Church, the Black church and its members, to again step in and help New Jersey solve a problem that has been recorded in our American education system since its beginning. America can provide toucation to its citizens, when it is in its national and economic interest. The rich have always received the best education, and the poor and minorities were educated to their intended place in society. It was the Black Church that was responsible for the motivation and support of teachers, students and societies in the desire to do the right thing and have social justice for all. It is time for parents to return to the churches, and the educators, black and white, do what they do best, educate the children, inspite of and around the system. Churches in Paterson need to open their doors to After School Centers, and peoples of God, of all faiths and denominations, should educate the students and prove, with God anything is possible. The Catholic Schools educate all students without concern for color or economics, why can’t the Public Schools do the same?

The greatest concern in the normal lives of America is the question of how to improve the educational system in the country. Based on current belief systems, only the white and the privileged receive a quality education in America. This belief has motivated the white and the privilege to want to do something about this injustice.

Current thought have some conservatives designing programs to destroy teacher unions and eliminate tenure in the education system. These are mean spirited people seeking mean spirited policies to do mean spirited things to the helpless. The beauty and mystery of America is that she operates on a duality of behaviors not connected to each other.

What America says and write about, is separate and apart from what America does. America talks and writes about the failure of her educational system- and the insensitivity and incompetence of her educators- while at the same time documented research suggests she has the best education system in the world, and has been able to transform the lives of millions of individuals from every culture, creed, nationality, ethnicity, economic or social status, slave or free into captains of industry.

It is time to look at the church, specifically the role of the Historical Black Church, in order to determine, what part it played in this American miracle. America is all right; she always had God on her side.

     The greatest hate love relationship in the world takes place between the two great oceans of North America. Black men white men and red men fought together and against each other to bring the greatest experiment of human diversity into existence. They marry each other’s women and father a rainbow of children, and blend cultural lines so that it is difficult to tell where one begins and the other ends. The DNA of America represents this struggle. What role did religion and the church play in this exciting American trilogy and how they survived the process and each other?

Columbia University was doing a study some years ago to determine how was it possible for a people to endure what the African American endured and come away from the experience with a sound mind and a sound body.

The Black church taught Liberation Theology and differed from the white church in that the church was responsible for being a guide for an oppressed people receiving the kingdom of God here on earth.[1] People may have been shouting in the front of the church however, in back rooms and in basements of these same churches, they were teaching the codes of survival.

During slavery and the Underground Railroad, gospel songs were used as traveling schedules, and the Bible was the median through which all information was communicated. Children learned to speak the Kings English and learn the history of human survival through difficult challenges recorded in the scriptures. Pastors were living prophets touched by the finger of God to reveal heavenly messages of encouragement and instructions.

Through the church many significant battles were won, but not the war. Integration, good or bad is here, the civil rights battle was fought and won, and economic progress can be seen throughout African American communities. The practices, which made it possible for the greatest generation to “over come,” have not been passed on to their children and we see people turning to drugs and alcohol for solutions and healing of pain.

We have lost our focus, and sometimes visiting churches and noticing the absence of youth, it is possible to get the impression that some are more focus on funeral arrangements than getting youth into colleges and universities. Grandparents, in Historical Black Churches, were so busy helping young people to improve reading, writing and math skills that they did not have time to be main guest as funeral arrangements; they were needed here to complete earthly task. The children needed them and they did not have time for the dying business.

It is time to go back to the future where every church had an after school center, and every member of the church involved in passing on knowledge to the next generation. If you look out into your congregation and you do not have a balance in children, young adults, married families and seniors, then you must question if we are really in the God business, and are we in the Black church business.

Black Church was a major institution in the lives of the Black community and provided the social service needs of the community. Men played significant leadership roles in the church, and were considered role models for the community. Political decisions, economic decision, relational decisions and education decisions were sanctioned and formulated in these sacred locations. Men and women of outstanding intellectual ability were elevated to positions of leadership in the church.

The Black Church operated its own teacher training academies; where men and women learned the skills of organizational development, classroom management skills, lesson planning and instructional delivery.

Churches operated their own after school programs, Sunday school programs, adult Bible study classes and Seminaries Black Christianity was also different from traditional Christianity. Black people viewed Jesus as a living Savior, guide counselor and friend. It was he who made it possible to endure difficult circumstances in the personal realm and the political realm of society. Black Christians did not develop an anger or rage against the oppressors of the Christian community, who went to church on Sundays, and some wore white sheets on Monday to attend rallies planning violence and even deaths of individuals.

The Black Church educational systems required précised language. This was achieved through the reading and discussion of the King James Bible. This book written in Shakespearian style of Shakespearian structure provided the structure of language, phonics, language arts skills, and analysis and interpretation. Students were expected to participate in drama scripts and religious pageants, which focused on moral judgment and character development. These stories provided subliminal programming on delayed gratification, reduced entitlement, and the forgiving love of Christianity.

The Church also provided direct instruction teaching strategies, a method used to determine outcome, and to verify that the intended goal had been achieved. The students participating in these programs were silently doing very well in the public schools. They quietly went on to the colleges and universities in the country, specifically Historically Black Colleges and Universities, but also educational institutions spread throughout the country.

 

The Churched African American family stayed under the radar, and provided little if any opportunity for white sociologist to enter this protected and private system. Sociological research continue to focus on the fringes of society and those individuals who provided the anti-social behavior, which tended to make for exciting and informative studies. Research into middle class African American population would have to address the role of the Black Church in economical development and social mobility; this type of research often and unpopular in America schools of higher learning because it contradicts studies in Eugenics, as were studies on the positive educational achievements of the group. This worked favorably for the group, because out of sight, out of mind strategies provided sufficient time for a group to develop because they were not expected to have the cognitive skills to achieve.

The Black Church prevented the development of emotional and mental victim personalities as the results of individuals in the outer society placing obstacles in the pathway of progress for countless men and women of color. Jesus was a God of love, and the Black Church and Black Christianity taught people how to truly love the enemy and not permit the sins of the enemy to become their sins. The Black Church taught an oppressed people that they were not made in the image of a racist mind, but made in the image of God, and as such had the ability to transform their lives into the realities of a powerful God regardless of the obstacles or racist Eugenic science.

Men were encouraged to study and become preachers, and women were encouraged to study and become teachers. These preachers would hold the family of God together while they endured the trials of living in a hostile environment. The teachers would dedicate themselves to the task of educating the children so that they would be prepared for a world of the future free of oppression. Teachers were believers of a better world and a better future here on earth.

Black Christianity focused on the quality of life on God’s earthly plane, while at the same time helping Christians to understand that there was life after life, with God in the heavenly realm. The Black Church and Black Christianity had the most effective anti depression and anti neurotic program in the country. Black Christians learned that the attitudes of the behaviors of other Christians, were not their concern, and they had to work out their own soul salvation.

Black Christians learned how to avoid the psychotic behaviors of other Christians who were determined to destroy them in mind, body and spirit. There was a spiritual separation of the two groups and a separation of theologies presented in the churches.

Black Christians learned a Black theology, and a theology of liberation. Crazy was something that the black church could not afford. During slavery, the African learned that any emotional excess could result in cruel behavior from the foreman of plantation and no tolerance from the maters of the plantations. Crazy could result in death or separation; therefore the parents quickly adjusted any child demonstrating less than normal behavior in order to protect the child from the violence and reality of the outside world. This suggests that where nature may have presented indication of some form of neurological disturbance, nurture and cultural control variables were put in place to alter behavior, which could suggest weakness. The mind was not free to develop and the strong areas of the body were influenced to control the weaker expressions of the mind.

This suggests that the mind may need a supportive environment for neurological challenges, and in fight or flight situations the mind is able to adjust the body to behaviors for its own survival. Life support services are manipulated until the body conforms to acceptable behaviors in challenging situations. The mind makes adjustment from its stronger and healthier parts and help to develop thoughts of survival, which has the effect of healing of the mind.

Mothers wanted their children to remain with them during the slavery period, therefore, any behaviors, which would result in possible removal or disposal were systematically programmed out of individuals. This may suggest the reason for low indications of emotional disturbance in highly structured families, and the contributing factor of increasing emotional disturbance in privileged families and single parent homes. In high stressed urban environments behaviors must adjust quickly to the survival mode and privilege is not a factor in survival in a wolf pack environment.

Mothers taught children what they could do and could not do and did not permit them to think about the instructions; this method, although harsh, did not permit the weaker neurological cell to spread, and the cells for survival maintained control.

Teachers working in urban centers environment with “high risk” students also use this method; in order to transform students into academic performers, the teacher assumes the alpha position, restricts freedom, reprogram thought and behavior, and permit the intellectual energies of the students to focus on academic excellence.

The behaviors required for academic excellence are the only ones permitted and the brain adjust to what is required and transformation takes place. Oppressed groups in America also use this system, realizing that discrimination will prevent progress for select groups, the groups adopts a plan, in private sessions, to delay instant gratification, and work smarter than the oppressing group and secure top positions by out performing the oppressing group in all areas.

Control factors were programmed into children for their own protection. Mothers were cruel as often as they needed to be to adjust the behaviors of their children to ensure that they would develop into adults. There was no such thing as freedom of speech and expressions. A free expression or free behavior could result in the view of the plantation owner as a defective property and they were sold off as soon as possible. In order to maintain the stability of the family, mothers had the responsibility to adjusting the behaviors of their children to ensure their safety and the ability to remain and grow up with the family.

These family behavior systems proved invaluable, for it prevent the development of mental illness in the slave population, and it also developed techniques and methodologies to change behaviors, which were necessary for survival. There were also other factors, which prevented the passing on of behavior traits, which could be defined in today’s terminology as emotional disturbance from developing.

The slave population was the human resource work force in the southern parts of the new country. Only very rich people could afford to own a slave or a work force, and the health of that work force determined the success of the business economy for which they were purchased to serve. A worker, who could not carry his own weight, was usually put up for sale in a packaged deal.

During the period after slavery and the emancipation of a non-free class of people, the African American was submitted to a form of man’s inhumanity to man to a greater degree than was experienced during the period of slavery. The safety values were lifted from the large corporations and wealth home owners who could afford a labor force, and the African was at the mercy of a poverty angry population determine to vent frustrations on any group weak enough to accept punishment with out revenge.

Mothers had to devise additional methods of saving their sons and husband from a poverty stricken population. Poverty breed’s violence, and the south were rendered poor as results of failure in the Civil War. They could not leave the Union, and were forced to follow the order and directions of the supreme commander coming out of Washington. The south hated the country, they hated the government and they really hated these free people of color who they held responsible for all problems.

Africans held tight and close to their families, and instructed children to control behaviors when in schools and outside of the families. Families were strong, nuclear and extended, and had a strong set of values with respect to God Family and Education. Excluded from inclusion in most of the activates related to the outside society, the African family continued with its development of strong churches and religious institutions, parallel but different from those found in the predominant white society.

During the period after slavery, the black family had to stay together in order to survive. There was no such thing as a rogue family member stepping out on his own in an attempt to find himself. Such foolishness often resulted in the individuals separating for the family circles becoming the fruit handing from a KKK tree, or a religious sacrifice made by a special group of Christians who believe that God ordered them to kill, burn and hang the different.

The rules of the black family and the Black Church were very clear, and deviation from those rules often resulted Christian actions from the white saved and the white mean. The Black Church not only became the message of the Gospel, but hidden codes of survival for a population selected out to be the scapegoat of a society, which did not know what to do with its frustrations and disappointments. Segregation was precise and honest; people did not like you, did not understand you, and did not want to have any interactions with anyone who was not tall blond and beautiful.

The Black Church became the urban colleges of the African community, and college attendance was mandatory. It was in this college that psychology, sociology, government, political science, business and management, politics of survival was taught.

[1] James Hal Cone (born August 5, 1938) is an American theologian, best known for his advocacy of Black liberation theology. His 1969 book Black Theology and Black Power provided a new way to articulate the distinctiveness of theology in the black Church.[1] His work has been both utilized and critiqued inside and outside of the African American theological community. He is currently the Charles Augustus Briggs Distinguished Professor of Systematic Theology at Union Theological Seminary in the City of New York.[2]

 

 

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