The Education of Black People by W.E.B DuBois: W.E.B. Du Bois: The Ideal Negro College

On What A Negro College Should Be: Excerpted from The Field and Function of the Negro College

Because it should be read in its entirety.

"Once upon a time some four thousand miles east of this place, I saw the functioning of a perfect system of education. It was in West Africa, beside a broad river; and beneath the palms, bronze girls were dancing before the president of Liberia and the native chiefs, to celebrate the end of the Bush retreat and their arrival at marriageable age.

There under the Yorubas and other Sudanese and Bantu tribes, the education of the child began almost before it could walk.  It went about with mother and father in their daily tasks; it learned the art of sowing and reaping and  hunting; it absorbed the wisdom  and folklore of the tribe; it knew the lay of land and river. Then at the age of puberty it went into the Bush and there for a season the boys were taught the secrets of sex and the girls in another school learned of motherhood and marriage.  They came out of the Bush with a ceremony of graduation, and immediately were given and taken in marriage.

 Even after that, their education went on.  They sat in council with their elders and learned the history and science and art of the tribe, and practiced all in their daily life.  

Thus education was completely integrated with life.  

There could be no uneducated people. 

There could be no education that was not at once for use of earning a living and for use in living a life.  

Out of this education and out of the life it typified came, as perfect expressions, song and dance and saga, ethics and religion.

Nothing more perfect has been invented than this system of training among primitive African tribes.  And one sees it in the beautiful courtesy of Black children; in the modesty and frankness of womanhood, and in the dignity and courage of manhood; and too, in African music and art with its world-wide influence.

If a group has a stable culture which moves, if we could so conceive it, on one general level, here would be the ideal of our school and university.  But, of course, this can never be achived by human beings on any wide stage."

The Field and Function of the Negro College pp. 112-113