NAACP Leaders Support Africa-America Institute in Historic Partnership
The NAACP’s partnership with the Africa-America Institute (AAI) was announced earlier this year on January 15, the birthday of Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr., during the 49th NAACP Image Awards.
The Africa-America Institute is a U.S.-based international organization that works to increase the capacity of African individuals and institutions through higher education initiatives, leadership development, professional workforce training and other programs. The organization has a long history of academic exchange and educational meetings between Africa and America .
NAACP President and CEO Derrick Johnson has noted that this kind partnership is needed now more than ever, especially in this Trump era in which minority rights are under attack.
“We have come to understand that elections have consequences,” said Johnson. “We recognize the need for greater unity among people and organizations of color.
The NAACP’s collaboration with the Africa-America Institute will include the development and distribution of a curriculum designed to highlight the accomplishments and history of Africa and its Diaspora .
Part of this curriculum includes showcasing content from the six-hour PBS series Africa’s Great Civilizations, a critically acclaimed documentary by Harvard University professor Henry Louis Gates, Jr .
“We think there is an opportunity now to have a partnership that helps to bridge African Diaspora communities with African American communities using some work that’s of interest to all Afro-descendants,” said Kofi Appenteng, president of the Africa-America Institute.
Appenteng said now is an extraordinary time and opportunity to partner with the NAACP and together connect the more than 42 million Afro-descendants with the brilliance of African history and its contribution to modern civilization.
“[This] partnership…creates a center of gravity for African Americans and all peoples of African descent in the Diaspora, with a heightened sense of civic engagement,” said Johnson.
The curriculum will consist of videos and short written materials that were prepared by a team of educators. Lessons will have an early education focus on positive identity formation, and there will be a more advanced curriculum that includes studies in social sciences .
Appenteng said there is plenty of information to draw on because a lot of material and footage didn’t make it into the PBS series.
“All African American communities and Afro-descendants more broadly do hunger for more information about the history of the role of Africa in the world and the achievements of Afro-descendants,” Appenteng said. “Younger people will benefit from hearing stories of women and men and what they’ve done, and how important Africa has been in the building of the United States, for example, and its role in the world otherwise that isn’t taught in the core curriculum that people get in schools.”
(From left) NAACP Leadership, President and CEO Derrick Johnson, Karen Boykin-Towns, Leon Russell, Al Sharpton, and Jesse Jackson with President and CEO of the Africa-America Institute Kofi Appenteng, at the Africa–America Institute annual awards gala.