Friday, August 15, 2014

Malcolm X, Geometry & The Hero With an African Face

Here's a conversation by email with a member of AYA's Warriors-Healers-Builders (WHB) family, Baba Kojo (aka 
Clyde McElven) He's the founder of the Hurston/Wright Foundation and now CEO of Clyde McElven and Associates Consulting.

Reading is this thing!

Baba Kojo:

As I continue reviewing my books for those depicting African resistance and or building I keep finding gems . One such precious find (or refined) is "Heroes With an African Face" by Clyde W. Ford.

Besides all the ancient African myths and heroes Ford writes about I was delighted with a current story he tells about himself.

As a college student he taught Black children in summer school who were labeled "problem Students. He taught them geometry without a single math book. Instead he used a copy of the speeches of Malcolm X. 

His reasoning was ...these young people ought to learn how to state a case and then construct a logical proof- something Malcolm was extremely good at. He said by the time he started drawing the connection between Malcolm's logic and the business proving two triangles symmetrical, a young student came up to him and said Mr. Ford, I think I know what you're getting at. Can I try teaching the next class.

My thought, Ford must have picked up on Wekesa's spirit.

Wekesa's Reply:

Baba Kojo

Thanks, Baba Kojo.

I love the book as well as one of my early favorites by Clyde Ford: Where Healing Waters Met:

Why am I not surprised that the Hurston/Wright Foundation under your leadership recognized him in 2006! 

I love his idea to teach students to use proofs to arguments that they want to and need to make. Its an example of using education to stimulate connection to the communities self-originating needs and desires. It is anecdote to alienation, apathy, etc. 

Now that's teaching!

We need that now more than every. That's why we teach methods courses for parents and others who want to know how to educate like that. They are disguised as a history course called Following Araminta & We Will Shoot Back

I'd like to have a group of students interview him about that. I propose that once school starts on Sept. 2nd.

Back in the day, we actually created a summer program called "Dancing Geometry." A dancing instructor choreographed (Keisha Willis)  the group steps as students morphed from on geometric shape to another (i.e. from an isosceles triangle to a scalene, etc.) Once created the dancers would dedicate- in unison - the triangle to a great Afrikan ancestor (Walker, Hurston, Clarke, Septima, etc.) Teaching something about those ancestors and something about the characteristics of each triangle - shape.

Baba, thanks again for the connection and the compliment.

AYA starts our school year in a couple of weeks (Sept. 2nd). Jump on it!

Youth programs - Weekend and Full Day
Adults programs - Weekend Academy (Methods Courses and Study Groups)
Community programs - Warriors-Healers-Builders Retreat