Enhancing achievement in adolescent black males: The rites of passage link

Keith Alford, Patrick Mc Kenry, Stephen Gavazzi

Research output: Chapter in Book/Entry/PoemChapter

4 Scopus citations


The following maxims are repeatedly used to convey the importance of education in society: ‘Education is the key to success,’ ‘You need an education in order to survive,’ and ‘Book sense makes good sense.’ Yet, some might question if these allegorical statements have fallen on the deaf ears of adolescent Black males. To answer this query, one needs to understand the crippling societal structures that many adolescent or young Black males face in both the United States and Britain. Are Black males truly an ‘endangered species,’ as noted some years ago by Jewelle Taylor Gibbs (1988), or is educational success theirs for the taking? This population is being studied more closely in recent years due to the many social indicators that suggest this group to be at high risk for numerous health, social, educational, and economic problems (Majors & Billson, 1992; King, 1994; Rasheed & Johnson, 1995; Taylor, 1995; Gavazzi et al., 1996; Miller, 1997; Harvey & Rauch, 1997). This chapter will concentrate on the role educational systems in the United States and Britain play in the lives of young Black males. The challenges of living or surviving, as some have termed it, faced by Black males will be discussed. Moreover, Africentricity’s role, a worldview that illuminates the values of people from African descent, will be explored in relation to accentuating the strengths of Black youth and their culture. African American Rites of Passage (AA-RITES), an initiative that is being implemented in communities across the United States, is one such program that has been designed to provide and instill the fundamentals of African and African American culture, history, life skills, and character development training to maturing Black males. From an educational standpoint, AA-RITES have served to increase the self-esteem and ethnic pride of adolescent Black males, hence, helping them to be better fit, both mentally and socially, to receive the academic regimen placed before them. Details about the implementation of the AA-RITES initiative in the state of Ohio for Black adolescent males will be discussed in relation to its salience for teachers, administrators, and other school personnel in the United States and Britain.

Original languageEnglish (US)
Title of host publicationEducating Our Black Children
Subtitle of host publicationNew Directions and Radical Approaches
PublisherTaylor and Francis
Number of pages16
ISBN (Electronic)9781135700232
ISBN (Print)0203995643, 9780750709644
StatePublished - Jan 1 2005

ASJC Scopus subject areas

  • General Social Sciences


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