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African American Homeschooling Communities. Is it time?

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About This Site

Veneka Smith is an educator, environmentalist, grant writer, and social activist. She unschools her three children, south of San Francisco where she founded the Northern California African American Homeschoolers Activities Association. She also organizes the annual African-American Homeschoolers Family & Friends Vacation as well as local family-oriented outdoor trips to natural environments. She is currently working with local agencies to establish a nonprofit to help parents access multimedia educational materials. Her family has lived and taken sabbaticals abroad and is working to establish strong university relations with many African diasporadic educational institutions.

 "An Intentional community" is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. The people may live together on a piece of rural land, a suburban home, or in an urban neighborhood, and they may share a single residence or live in a cluster of dwellings."

Afamunschool

After reading the posts on 'socialization' from the AfAmUnschool Listserv, I began to look into the possibilities of African American homeschoolers supporting each other through a community.  The concept of "intentional communities” (www.cohousing.org, www.ic.org) was discussed as a means to bring African American homeschoolers together.

After some investigation, I found that, as with many ideas, this was nothing new.  In fact, many modern foundations focus on preserving and reconstructing homelands and cultural identities. Here are the mission statements from some of these non-profits and foundations:

Rockefeller Foundation

“Goal: To give full expression to the creative impulses of individuals and communities in order to enhance the well-being of societies and better equip them to interact in a globalized world. To help broaden the benefits and reduce the negative impacts of globalization on vulnerable communities, families and individuals around the world” (www.rockfound.org)




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 "An Intentional community" is a group of people who have chosen to live together with a common purpose, working cooperatively to create a lifestyle that reflects their shared core values. The people may live together on a piece of rural land, a suburban home, or in an urban neighborhood, and they may share a single residence or live in a cluster of dwellings."

National Black United Fund

“Our strategy is to use philanthropic resources to meet vital needs in Black communities, and to use those resources as venture capital to leverage social and economic change.” (www.nbuf.org)

There have been many African American communities in the past. Allensworth State Historic Park is a preservation of the only California town to be founded, financed and governed by African Americans (www.parks.ca.gov). The town of Allensworth was established in 1908 by Colonel Allen Allensworth, and a group of others dedicated to improving the economic and social status of African Americans. Soul of America maintains a list of black towns and settlements (http://www.soulofamerica.com/towns/index.html).

Proactively creating communities may be one way to preserve what is lost in current settings. Many people on the afamunschool list specified problems that inhibit raising and teaching their children, such as, gentrification, counter-cultural activities, overt and inadvertent racism, undermining of afro-centricity, lack of family and community support, and despondent peers. Of course, an intentional community would not right all these wrongs, but faced with other economical and social challenges, the abolition of some of these challenges would “lighten the load.”