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The Mis-Education of the Negro

4.45  ·  Rating Details ·  5,905 Ratings  ·  224 Reviews
The Mis-Education of the Negro is one of the most important books on education ever written. Carter G. Woodson shows us the weakness of Euro-centric based curriculums that fail to include African American history and culture. This system mis-educates the African American student, failing to prepare them for success and to give them an adequate sense of who they are within ...more
Paperback, 215 pages
Published November 1st 2006 by Communication Systems (first published 1933)
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Kent Denmon Just finished this book a few weeks ago. I believe this is a great book for all to read, especially people of color. The book details how US education…moreJust finished this book a few weeks ago. I believe this is a great book for all to read, especially people of color. The book details how US education indoctrinates its citizens with history/views from an European perspective rather than educate students of world politics. The book also provides counter measures to this indoctrination in attempt to better education and career choices for people of color in America.(less)

Community Reviews

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Joi Reece
May 29, 2012 Joi Reece rated it it was amazing
Shelves: favorites
As I contemplate the state of today’s black adolescents, rereading this piece of literature provided a new perspective on the present condition of African-Americans. This book is more than a piece of literary history; it is the lens with which we should use to reevaluate our education, our family and our commitment to building a helping system.

What I loved most about this book is how it illustrates the power of education and knowledge. It explains how an improper education can make people unfit
...more
Chris brown
It is amazing that after almost 75 years this book remains at the forefront of forward thinking. More than just a book, it is a manual; blue print rather for the uplifting and enlightening of a people without the common stowaway of blaming “the-man” as the father, author, creator, and personified of every woe upon the African American people. More amazing yet is that after 75 years the content and thermos of the book remain sound and accurate. The years may have passed but the spirit in which th ...more
Trae Brookins
Jan 11, 2013 Trae Brookins rated it it was amazing
Recommends it for: Jed Koball
Shelves: history, philosophy
A great historical document and extremely important to those in education who are concerned with racial injustice. A powerful read--unfortunately, so many of his observations regarding white hegemony and the systematic subjugation of African Americans remain true today. Woodson is clear is his critique and makes so many excellent points that I was highlighting a sentence almost every other page. I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in human rights, social justice, racial equality a ...more
Daya Washington
May 23, 2013 Daya Washington rated it really liked it
This is the kind of book you will need to read and hear over and over again to grasp all that is being said. Every word is purposeful and every concept perfectly complex and all wrapped up in a challenging bow for the educated African American female (especially). The insight in this book dismantles all that I thought education would be at an HBCU. I wish this was required reading at my high school or even my community college before I transferred to one. An EPIC read for African American commun ...more
Michael Strode
"The Negro, whether in Africa or America, must be directed toward a serious examination of the fundamentals of education, religion, literature, and philosophy as they have been expounded to him. He must be sufficiently enlightened to determine for himself whether these forces have come into his life to bless him or bless his oppressor. After learning the facts in the case the Negro must develop the power of execution to deal with these matters as do people of vision." ~ Carter G. Woodson

Carter G
...more
Cherisse
Excellent book! Every African American needs to read this book in order to understand how we've been so brainwashed to hate ourselves.
Ty'ronn Spriggs
Jun 07, 2009 Ty'ronn Spriggs marked it as to-read
I want to read this book so badly. I have read a couple of excerpt from the book, but I have not read the whole thing yet. When I get this book I will tell you all about it!
Sheehan
Well I have had this book for almost a decade collecting dust on my shelf, just kept getting passed over for other seemingly more relevant texts that came across my desk.

Can't say it was "worth the wait", it is not bad, but not earth shattering either. Even for it's time, I imagine much of it must have seemed like a reiteration of WEB DuBois's Souls of Black Folks, in fact Woodson's whole chapter on the state of teachers was a pallid reconstruction of a much more poetic DuBois version.

Now to be
...more
Linda
The Mis-Education of the Negro was originally published in 1933. In it, Woodson outlines what he sees as the repercussions of an ineffective Negro educational system. The book may have been shocking when it was written, but it represents mainstay thought about education, today. The book remains relevant, because even though most agree, as a community, we still have a way to go in putting many of his recommendations into practice. As a modern reader, I appreciated chapters XVII and the appendix t ...more
Micah Smurthwaite
Sep 08, 2010 Micah Smurthwaite rated it really liked it
Shelves: black-lit
The father of Black History Month, Woodson started Black History Week in 1926. A newly freed slave should receive education, but what is the utility of a liberal education ? Liber is latin for free; the education available to every free man. It is also the education to free your mind. Philosophy, science, history, and the humanities (which are called such because they are what differentiates us as human and the study of humanizes us).

However, how useful is a man's knowledge of Plato in an agricu
...more
Les
It wasn't what I remembered. Reading it in my youth and reading it in my - well, non youth - were definitely different experiences. Still full of truth, but thankfully some of it has become dated or I disagreed with the premise of certain points based on my own life experience. Speaking of life experience, the conclusions the author makes based on his personal encounters are often valid but limited in their own way. And sadly, much of what he wrote became dated over time and then decades later, ...more
Eddie
May 27, 2013 Eddie rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: african-american
"The mere imparting of information is not education." (Ch. 1)

The Mis-Education of the Negro is a powerful glimpse into the state of the Negro in the Early 20th Century as analyzed by noted African-American historian and scholar, Carter G. Woodson. Throughout Mis-Education, Woodson addresses several key points:

How the Negro ended up in his predicament:
Woodson explains that the traducers of the race, those who oppress the Negro through propaganda and mis-education, "...by teaching [the Negro] that
...more
Sarah
Dec 01, 2011 Sarah rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
I know. I know. This is a classic that should be read by all black people everywhere. I have no real qualms about the content but there were just so few "ah-ha moments" that I was a little underwhelmed. To Woodson's credit, I'm sure that has more to do with the impact this book has had on black culture and education since it's publication. Many black people and institutions have taken Woodson's admonishments to heart and made positive changes. There are some areas pointed out in this book that s ...more
David Withun
Nov 12, 2016 David Withun rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: education
It is unfortunate that this classic of African-American thought is so rarely read and referenced. While the social situation in which Woodson lived and worked has, clearly, changed a great deal, many of his observations remain relevant as more than matters of mere historical interest. While I do not always agree with his conclusions, there is no doubt that his arguments are based a great deal of research and experience and deserve to be heard. I recommend this book to anyone interested in Africa ...more
A'Tru Dreamx
Jul 02, 2012 A'Tru Dreamx rated it it was amazing
This was an excellent analysis of the state of black American culture. It was inspiring, as well as a saddening truth. Despite being written in 1930 it reflects current trends. I was disturb to find that as a race African Americans have not made significant gains since the time of Mr. Woodson. Hopefully, his warnings, suggestions, and ideas will be revisited by the new generation to make a positive change.
Steven
Apr 25, 2008 Steven rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book is relevant, even into today's time. Although it was written in the early 1900s, the analysis can be applied to today's situations. I read this book at the beginning of each new school year.
Daniel S
"To handicap a student by teaching him that his black face is a curse and that his struggle to change his condition is hopeless is the worst sort of lynching. It kills ones aspirations and dooms them to vagabondage and crime. It is strange, then, that the friends of truth and the promoters of freedom have not risen up against the present propaganda in the schools and crushed it. This crusade is much more important than the anti-lynching movement, because there would be no lynching if it did not ...more
Tama
Jul 20, 2008 Tama rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommended to Tama by: Rosemary Traore
Shelves: urban-ed
I felt a great deal of conflict coming from Woodson as I read this book. He seems to be a great observer of the Negro people. He has provided depth and perspective in his writing. Yet it seemed that for every concept he approached, he consistently countered his own initial point of view. As an example, I was intrigued by his discussion of an educated and uneducated minister. The educated minister understands (and can read) the established teachings, but the uneducated minister understands the pe ...more
Shannette Slaughter
Feb 17, 2010 Shannette Slaughter rated it it was amazing
This is a must read for all American Born Africans. It will remind you that the education that you've received, whether from Harvard or the streets, it is inadequate for true liberation. We must go beyond what has been provided and begin to be the providers. The truth shall set you free
Francis
Before i started reading this book by Carter Woodson (published in 1933), my aim was to fill in the blanks, regarding my lack of knowledge about the slave history in the 17th century. This thesis covered the main points to an extent, by addressing the harsh treatment of the slaves, the influence of religion towards their enlightenment and the constant efforts made by the abolitionists & antislavery activists, towards securing a sound education and liberty for Negroes, from the 17th to the la ...more
Mykie
This review is long overdue. I have been reading this book on a regular basis for years.
I hold great appreciation for the work Mr. Woodson put into this text. I will say that one must truly understand the following aspects before they can fully engage with the text and feel the impact of the analysis that lies within the text:

1) Mr. Woodson is analyzing the MIS-education of “the negro” and not UN-education. It is urgent that one understands this before they dive in
2) Mr. Woodson was a pivotal
...more
Justin Taylor
Sep 09, 2015 Justin Taylor rated it really liked it
This book by Carter G. Woodson takes into account the current psychological state of the "modern negro". Woodson separates the book by chapters highlighting certain deficienties the black race has grown accustom to and perpetuates. Experiences from the author and historical context support the ideologies given, and the book makes you interpret race and social constructs to disrupt barriers put in place by society. Topics include: educational regimes, religious beliefs, business expenditures, fam ...more
Valarie
Oct 20, 2011 Valarie rated it really liked it
I am rating this book based on its relevance today, which is amazing considering it was written in 1933. One would expect that very little of Woodson's writing on race relations would still be useful 80 years later, but it is amazingly inspiring and thought-provoking to read. His clear explanations of the failure of our educational system made me want to go out and run for the Board of Education, and write a new history textbook. I took away a star because about 20% of what he describes isn't at ...more
Averill
Jun 22, 2014 Averill rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The book in itself is a relic you can tell by the name, but as I lay in my bed last night I realized the negro (African American) is frozen in a time warp. Here it is 2014, and a book written in 1933 is as relevant now as it's was back then. lol. A lot of the problems addressed in this book I myself have chewed on a few times. 2014 and Blacks, Negros, african Ameri... What ever we call ourselves still don't buy from one another. Sad. Good book all the same.
Clearwords
Sep 23, 2009 Clearwords rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I just finished reading

The Mis-Education of the Negro
and it is a truly great book, a good read for
people of all races to better understand the history of and progress of African
Americans in this country.
Chalida
Sep 18, 2009 Chalida rated it it was amazing
While this book was not a page-turner for me and took a lot of concentration and re-reading, I feel it is a must-read for all educators. There are so many gems of wisdom that I know I will keep in mind for the rest of my career. I will have to re-read and reflect on my practice with Woodson's philosophies always. Written in the 1930's, this book is so relevant today.
52ShadesofClay
A bit dated, but still relevant. Most of the issues still plaguing our community today. Not at all happy with some of the boot strap and respectability solutions offered up by the author, but considering the day and age in which it was written, it's excusable. Still a must read for anyone serious about eliminating the conditioning, indoctrination, and pathology plaguing the African diaspora.
Sharon
Mar 23, 2013 Sharon rated it it was amazing
This is the rare book that deserves a solid ten stars. It should be required reading for all educators - current and prospective, urban policy makers, politicians,clergy,budding and established entrepreneurs....everyone who earnestly proclaims their intent to "make a difference" in someone else's life.
AlTonya
Feb 03, 2014 AlTonya rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Such an important book. Glad I've had the chance to delve into it. As a college librarian for an HBCU so much of what was shared within the pages of this work hit close to home in a variety of ways, some unfortunate, others uplifting.
Ernest Sneed
Jul 24, 2015 Ernest Sneed rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: history, politics
A thought provoking book on the content and purpose of an education for disenfranchised persons. It has themes and questions regarding curriculum content that are relevant to this day. An excellent read for a parent, teacher, or education activist.
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President of Associated Publishers, Inc. Founder and editor of the Journal of Negro History, 1916, and the Negro History Bulletin, 1937.
More about Carter G. Woodson...

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“If you can control a man's thinking you do not have to worry about his action. When you determine what a man shall think you do not have to concern yourself about what he will do. If you make a man feel that he is inferior, you do not have to compel him to accept an inferior status, for he will seek it himself. If you make a man think that he is justly an outcast, you do not have to order him to the back door. He will go without being told; and if there is no back door, his very nature will demand one.” 164 likes
“History shows that it does not matter who is in power or what revolutionary forces take over the government, those who have not learned to do for themselves and have to depend solely on others never obtain any more rights or privileges in the end than they had in the beginning.” 101 likes
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