“There are still many causes
worth sacrificing for,
so much history yet to be made.”
– Michelle Obama
– Michelle Obama
Educators to Africa is a common interest organization that was formed after a unique six-week study tour to four West African countries. And as the saying goes, the rest is history.
On November 17, 1967, The School District of Philadelphia created the Office of African/African-American Studies after a student-led march protested the Board of Education to have Black History taught in all schools.
Under the leadership of then Office Director, William C. Green, the Philadelphia School District teamed up with the University of Connecticut and the African American Institute of NY, to co-sponsor “EDUCATORS TO AFRICA ‘70”. An educational travel program that took 130 educators from 25 states to Ghana, Nigeria, Togo and Dahomey (Benin) for intensive historical, social, and cultural studies.
The largest contingent of this group were the 38 educators from Philadelphia. It was anticipated that these participants would later form the team of leaders who would carry out the Philadelphia School District’s mandate to have African/African-American history taught in all the schools. However, this phase of the program never completely materialized because of local political machinations.
Regardless, the trip to Africa was a success. The group’s days were filled with university lectures and workshops, and they made numerous field trips to surrounding villages, towns, and cities where they warmly interacted with local residents in their homes, schools & places of business.
They also attended an unforgettable event: a durbar for the installment of the Asantehene (traditional leader) of the Asante ethnic group in Kumasi, Ghana. Here, we joined tens of thousands of Africans as they engaged in the centuries-old cultural ceremony that legitimized the right of Nana Opoko Ware, II to occupy the “Golden Stool”, Ghana’s traditional national symbol.
Inspired by all we had learned and the hospitality we had received, members of the Philadelphia contingent suggested forming a separate organization that would allow us to maintain the newly formed relationships with our brothers and sisters on the African continent.
So in February 1971, at the home of Mr. and Mrs. William C. Green, Educators to Africa was born with these 6 key goals:
Create a closer link with the people of Africa.
Educate the general American public about the political, cultural and economic affairs of Africa.
Support African nations in their efforts to achieve economic and political viability.
Offer scholarships and other forms of financial aid to qualified African students in their efforts to secure a university education in the Philadelphia region
Sponsor cultural and educational activities that would create a greater interest, awareness, and appreciation of African history and culture, and
Support the Black liberation movements of African people on the continent and in the Diaspora
Historically, all groups of American immigrants have maintained links to their homelands, and have supported their native lands’ rights to political, social and economic self-determination. The members of EDUCATORS TO AFRICA believe that Africa’s children should do no less.
Despite being snatched from the continent hundreds of years ago, despite being subjected to the double degradations of the Middle Passage and chattel slavery, and despite the turmoil of segregation and discrimination, we did survive, and do recognize, value and honor our connection to the African Motherland. For Africa is, in fact, the Motherland of all Humankind and The Crucible of Civilization Itself.
February 1971 – ETA was founded by Mr. William C. Green.
1974 – ETA began celebrating Kwanzaa as a time for individual and group rededication to the Nguzo Saba, the seven principles. Additionally, our clothing and fundraising drives helped to ameliorate some distressing conditions in certain parts of Africa. We were also able to award modest financial aid to many African students.
1980’s – ETA raised significant funds to support some of the orphaned school children of Gulu, Uganda, East Africa.
1991 – ETA established the John Henrik Clarke Educational Endowment Fund to aid students enrolled in the African American studies Ph.D. program at Temple University.
1992 – ETA launched community African history study group, SEBA, where we read and discussed non-fiction books of interest, monthly. SEBA* is still an active ETA program.
October 2010 – ETA forwarded $2,500 to Habitat for Humanity for the construction of new homes after Haiti’s devastating earthquake.
May 18, 2011 – ETA donated 40 years of historical documents and papers to the archives of the Charles L. Blockson Afro-American Collection for future research.