Ed-Web: Africa-Descended Culture on the Web

By Bakari Chavanu

When I finally learned how to get on the Web and search the various sites and links, I found a goldmine of resources about the history, literature, and culture of people of African descent. With many of these websites bookmarked in my computer, I’m beginning to think of ways to incorporate Internet resources into my classroom and Black Student Union.

www.BlackVoices.com for its message boards (including one specifically for teens) in which hundreds of questions concerning race, gender, class, and popular culture are debated. Recent exchanges have been on the effects of racism, the controversy surrounding the children’s book Nappy Hair, bi-racialism, Ebonics, and cultural identity. The site also includes various clubs for book readers, poetry writers, and those interested in Black history. I’m going to propose that a club or board be started about issues in Black education.

A similar site is The Black World Today (www.tbwt.com), an excellent source of Black news. Through its columns, featuring regular pieces by the writer Ofari Hutchinson, the site raises issues often ignored in the mainstream media. A recent article, for instance, took President Clinton to task for his lack of interest in Africa. The site also contains a forum called “Racial Justice and Reconciliation” and has major links to websites on the African continent, including that of the African National Congress.

For teachers of history and literature, a plethora of sites offer links to other sites. Two useful web pages are www.watson.org/~lisa/blackhistory/ and www.public.asu.edu/~metro/aflit/links/wrlinked.html. Both contain long lists of links to other sites and web pages about African and African-American authors and artists.

One of the most extensive lists of resources on the African continent and culture is the University of Pennsylvania’s African Studies Department website: www.sas.upenn.edu/African_Studies/Home_Page. This site also offers a list of sites and pages for school curriculum about African science, geography, art, dance, and much more.

I’ve also found the Malcolm X Page useful ( www.unix-ag.uni-kl.de/~moritz/malcolm.html). It includes quotes, pictures, speeches, and a bibliography. Links to sites about slave resistance, the Civil Rights movement, and the contributions of African-American women can be found at the Black History archives site at www.afroam.org/index.html.

An emerging site with a lot of promise is the Education for Liberation Network, organized by the Georgia State University African American Studies Department. The network will be holding its first critical education conference to discuss concerns, research, and programs about the lack of educational and developmental opportunities for African American youth. They also have a listserve and are developing their web page. They can be found at www.soulsociety.com/edliberation.html.

A Black history treasure hunt

Black History Month — http://www.gale.com/gale/bhm/blackhm.html

The Civil Rights Movement: A Black History Celebration — http://www.fred.net/nhhs/project/civrts.htm

Exploring African American Issues on the Web — http://www.kn.pacbell.com/wired/BHM/AfroAm.html

I’ll Make Me a World National Website — http://www2.blackside.com/immaw/

A Library of Congress Resource Guide for the Study of Black History and Culture — http://www.lcweb.loc.gov/exhibits/african/intro.html

Poets of the Harlem Renaissance and After — http://www.poets.org/lit/EXH/ex006fst.htm

The African American Web Connection —http://www.aawc.com/aawc.html

Graphic Harlem Number —http://etext.lib.virginia.edu/harlem/

The Harlem Renaissance —http://www.princeton.edu/~jmercado/harlem/

Bonvibre’s African American Pfat Poetry Book —http://members.aol.com/bonvibre/rmp0a.html

Classical Music in Black and White —http://php.indiana.edu/~afamarch/home.html

Database of African American Poetry 1760-1900 — http://www.hti.umich.edu/english/daap

African American Odyssey : A Quest for Full Citizenship — http://memory.loc.gov/ammem/aaohtml/aohome.html

The African-American Village —http://www.minorities-jb.com/african.html

The African-American Forum —http://mailer.fsu.edu/~afroamhm/

The Black Film Center/Archive —http://www.indiana.edu/~bfca/index.html

Powerful African-American Images Revealed in Picture Books —http://www.scils.rutgers.edu./special/kay/afro.html

Bakari Chavanu (BChavanu@csus.edu) teaches at Florin High School in Sacramento, CA, and is a member of the National Coalition of Education Activists. Thanks to Jim Wallace for providing this list of sites supplied by New Hampshire Public Television.