Book Critique Mis-Education of the Negro Unit

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BookCritique: Mis-Education of the Negro


In his book the Mis-education of the Negro, Carter GodwinWoodson addresses the issue education, or lack thereof, among AfricanAmericans. Although the book first published in 1933, the author’smain argument that the government was systemically failing the AfricaAmerican race through lower quality education remains relevant todayas African Americans continue to lag behind in education. To make hispoint, the author addresses various issues in the book’s eighteenchapters. The last four are summarized critiqued here below.

Chapter15- Vocational Guidance

In this chapter, Woodson calls for additional vocational training forAfrican American schools. He claims that African American schoolspoorly equipped use poor, pedagogical approaches, use poortechnology, and education lacks key vocational skills training. Iagree with his examination on poor training and equipping of schools.While the topic is relevant today, I feel that it is not updated wellenough to include good examples of modern African Americans who havehit the top in their careers but have failed in managing theircareers due to lack of vocational training. At the same time, thereauthor clearly fails to highlight the role of poor attitude towardseducation and how it contributes to lower standards of educationamong African Americans. Several scholars in this field haveidentified attitude as a very major problem.

Chapter16: The New Type of Professional Man Required

In this chapter Woodson calls for the need to advance professionalismamong African Americans in various fields. He calls for an increasein the number of African Americans in certain professions in order topromote the plight of the black people as minorities. For instance,increasing the number of black doctors improves the healthcareservices for black people while more black lawyers increase justicefor blacks simply because they offer such professional serviceswithin the right cultural context. This is a compelling caseespecially in regards to a higher number of lawyers and even blacklaw enforcement officers. Over the years, the US government has beencriticized for incarcerating a higher number of blacks compared toother races. I think the situation would be different if there weremore African American law enforcers. An update on the number of theAfrican American law enforcers and other major professional wouldhelp point to any progress made.

Chapter17- Higher Strivings in the Service of the Country

This chapter calls for African Americans to be broad-mindedpolitically, to strive for the best for the country and not for justthe black people and to avoid being held hostage by past politicalfavors. Additional, he calls for black people to take radicalapproaches to achieve social and economic change. What I find mostinteresting and controversial is that the author does not call forradical political approaches to push for social and economic change.This shows that the author is opposed to radical political measuressuch as the civil rights movement that black people used to bring toan end racial segregation. To him, education is enough to bringeconomic and social changes. Thus, the author contradict himself bynoting that the government has employed systemic measures to deny theblack people the right education while at the same time denying thatthe same government has not employed systemic measures to deny blackpeople political involvement. This is because, if education requiresradical approaches, then politics also require radical approaches.

Chapter18 The Study of The Negro

This chapter recaps all the issues that he feels affects AfricanAmerican education. He applies a different tone and is evidently moreemotional and reprimanding in highlighting why African Americansshould grow their confidence and challenge the status quo thatteaches them to hate their own history while they respect the historyof other races. By saying that black people lack confidence, I feelthat the author fails to appreciate that the fact that previousgovernments have intentionally suppressed black people. To him,confidence does not equate to taking bold measures such as radicalpolitical stands to demand to equality. However, when he reprimandsblack people for retaining a slavish habit of berating their ownwhile worshipping the master, I agree. Simply because black peoplehate their own. Black gangs kill more black than any other ethnicgroups. I feel that statistics or even case studies would come inhandy here to make the point and show trends.


The organization and flow of ideas of the book are smooth. Thechapters are interesting to read, easy to understand and stillrelevant to today’s society. Statistics available from varioussources indicate that African Americans and Hispanics among otherminority groups lag in terms of education and quality of life. Asthese groups grow in population in the US, they need to be morestrategically ready for the dominant role though better education.


Woodson, C. G.(2015). Mis-education of the Negro. New York: Start Publishing