Second year campaign to promote culturally relevant curriculum ends with the National Browder Scholars Convention
In January of 2018, the West Dayton Youth Task Force became the eight chapter of the national cultural imperative Initiative program- The Browder Scholars- named after cultural historian and bestselling author, Anthony T. Browder. The program was initiated by master teacher and A Black Education Network (ABEN) Executive Director Debra Watkins, based in San Jose, California. The WDYTF participated in the program as a part of their second year campaign to promote culturally relevant curriculum and culturally responsive schools. The Dayton chapter was the only chapter that was not based in California.
From January until June, students met once a month on a Saturday at Dunbar High School to discuss essays from Mr. Browder’s book, From the Browder File. Students watched a personalized video from Mr. Browder, enjoyed food, dialogued with their peers and youth organizer (Josh Harrison) and wrote reflective essays for Mr. Browder to read. The program culminated with national convention, held in the nation’s capital, Washington, D.C.
The convention lasted for three days, Friday until Sunday. At a downtown hotel, it began in an Olympic-type fashion with each delegations marching in from the rear of the room as a west African drumming group created an atmosphere of excitement. Each delegation of students was assigned an African nation to give a short verbal report on and introductions were made.
Day two began with breakfast and a personal tour by Mr. Browder of the second most visited museum in the world, the new African American museum, which is barely two years old. Mr. Browder ‘s experience of traveling to Egypt over 50 times, developed in him an original prospective of all that was exhibited in the museum, from its architecture , to its order and arrangement, to the unseen nuances that related to African culture and heritage. He is one who is uniquely qualified to challenge the many exhibits on display for their historical and cultural relevance.
Students had lunch at the highly regarded restaurant inside the museum and then proceeded to a bus tour that Mr. Browder has been giving for over a decade called “Egypt on the Potomac”. The tour highlighted the African presence in the architecture and building of Washington D.C. the nation’s capital. He was able to show and prove how the impeccable scientific skills of African’s were used by the founding fathers of America to build the city from its birth. Dayton students from Stivers School of the arts and Belmont high school, led by youth organizer and Wayne High school graduate, Josh Harrison were awed by what they saw and heard from Mr. Browder. Much of what was shared on the tour is found in Mr. Browder’s bestselling book, Nile Valley Contributions to Civilization.
The third and final day of the convention gave proof to the transformational capability of learning one’s culture and history. The Browder scholars were given instructions days previous on how to give a 2 minute presentation on what they learned, and the best presenter was promised to receive a $400 scholarship in the name of Mr. Browder’s mother. Surprisingly all of the students got together and decided to give their presentation together and donate the $400 so to a student could attend the trip to D.C. next year.
There was a Warrior-Healer-Builder presentation given by Baba Kojo from the AYA Institute (an African centered school), students received certificates of participation, and the final address was given by Mr. Browder. Next year, as a part of the Browder Scholars program, students will be able to come again to D.C. for the trip but more significantly they may also be eligible to take a trip with Mr. Browder and ABEN official to Egypt (Kemet)
We would like to thank all of the donors who gave money to make this trip to D.C. possible, the parents of the students who attended, our youth organizer Josh Harrison, the Browder scholars students for participating, and of course to Ms. Debra Watkins and Mr. Tony Browder.
We also have a special thank you to Dunbar principal Ms. Phillips for opening up her building on a Saturday for students to take part in this program.