There are too many black children in this country who do not realize their potential
because they do not know who they are or where they come from. Without an identity,
a pulsating drive to achieve, a support system, or accurate historical textbooks, several
children fall through the cracks of a broken educational system. As evidenced by a 2010
Schott Foundation report, African-American males are performing at an appalling low
rate in American schools. In Michigan, African-American males were 29 percent less
likely to graduate than white males. Consequently, African-American males are not as
prepared to compete within the educational realm and beyond; and thus, are not always
afforded the same opportunities. This inability to compete in an ever-changing world
not only serves as a detriment to the youths involved, but also to their communities as a
In the early 1980s, African-Centered Education was brought to Detroit Public Schools to
combat issues such as this one. This pedagogy, based on Afrocentric theories, approaches
knowledge by placing students at the center of their historical and cultural heritage and
treating Africans and their descendants as subjects of history rather than as objects.
The documentary, Paul Robeson-Malcolm X Academy: Education By Any Means
Necessary, focuses on an African-Centered (Kindergarten–8th-grade) school in Detroit.
Specifically, it examines the school’s history, the opposition that was met when the
school first opened in the early 1990s, and the impact the school is having on the lives of
The purpose of this film is to make more people aware of this type of schooling and
potentially bring about change in areas where it is needed most.
Some may argue that this educational approach has not been any more effective than
traditional education. In fact, the film highlights some of its weaknesses in hopes that
doing so will serve as a key to unlocking other solutions. No matter one’s views about
ACE, something must be done – why not start here?